Whatever You Measure Improves

All of us enjoyed watching the exciting Olympics in London. The athletes were competing to win the gold medals and many were trying to break many world or Olympic records.

In 1988, Carl Lewis  set the world and Olympic record when he ran the 100 meter race in 9.8 seconds. In 2008 and 2012, Usain Bolt convincingly shattered that record. It was evident that Usain measured his Olympic goals in 2008 based on Carl Lewis’ record. While preparing for the 2012 Olympics, he measured his own running times to create improvement in his stride, which was a definite success.

Recently, I attended a management and business academy sponsored by Alcon, and I was taught two principles that have been essential in helping me analyze my practice. First, whatever you measure improves. Second, work on your practice in addition to working in the practice.

Although optometrists are taught the quantitative science of optics and spend most of their workday taking measurement of visual acuity, most do not invest much time to measure the state of their business. More often we form the intuitive impressions about business issues. Then we make decisions without a solid, metrics-based understanding of their actual situation and without any quantitative norms against which to compare their performance. The act of measurement forces attention on office processes.

Do you have solid measurement processes in place in your office for some of the following? Take the time to assess your office’s business and create goals based off your findings.

  • ·         The number of new patients every month
  • ·         Eyewear Rx’s per 100 exams
  • ·         Eyewear percent of gross revenue
  • ·         Eyewear revenue per pair
  • ·         Eyewear multiple pair sales ratio
  • ·         Medical eye care visits by types
  • ·         Percent of medical eye care visits

Measurement facilitates realistic goal setting, which prompts affirmative change. Tracking key metrics increases an optometrist’s control over what happens in the office. I encourage you to locate at least one area of improvement in your practice, measure it and watch the positive increase in that area.