For the ophthalmologist considering diversification by setting up an in-house lens fabrication lab, the benefits are numerous: the ability to trim costs, speed up delivery time of glasses, and offer better quality control. Perhaps the two most compelling reasons for doing in-house work are patient satisfaction and additional profits.
"In-house work carries the potential for huge profits," said John Corsini, president of Super Systems Optical Technologies, based in Cincinnati. "By doing it all, you will have more satisfied customers whom you can retain for the additional profit."
However, careful planning and analysis are key to the decision to undertake this commitment.
"It's definitely becoming more common, because ophthalmologists are starting to realize what type of profit is available in the optical sector of the market from the dispensing end. From an optometry standpoint, it's the largest contributor to their bottom-line profit and they don't have the larger fees through surgery like the ophthalmologist. The profits can be astronomical," Corsini said.
A practical approach is first to install a dispensary, and progress to production-a move that could, according to some experts, triple or even quadruple profits.
Qualified and reliable personnel to run the equipment is yet another consideration. With today's equipment, however, it's not necessary to hire someone with lots of experience, Corsini added.
"That's the nice thing about the technology today. It allows someone who is new to the process to get into it really easily, without needing 20 years of experience," he said.
Super Systems Optical Technologies offers a number of services for ophthalmologists who may want to develop their own in-house labs. Lab layout and a full cost analysis are just some of the services. Super Systems can also help ophthalmologists locate all of the equipment necessary, either through their direct products or through outsourcing.