Hi, I am a trainee optometrist working in a popular multiple, and I can tell you for sure that optometrists are under huge pressure to sell glasses/laser treatment to all patients. When it comes to glasses, the optometrists have to meet a target called a conversion rate. This is the percentage of people they have tested who have gone on to buy glasses. If they don't meet a certain value, usually more 50-60%, than the director will get on their back and put them under immense pressure to get more 'conversions'. Now you can see where there is a huge conflict of interest, how can someone who is supposed to look after your clinical needs offer impartial advice regarding glasses if they are under pressure to sell to you. This crossover of eyecare and sales leads to optometrists exaggerating vision changes and sometimes even being downright deceitful and manipulating prescriptions to find a change.
The directors who put the optometrist under pressure usually have a non-clinical background and are only involved in the commercial side of the business. They literally have no understanding of how a sight test works, having said that, there are some directors who have a clinical background, they usually tend to be more relaxed regarding conversion rates and sales targets (though not all of them as they are not immune from greed!).
The conversion rate is deeply ingrained into large optometric practices, which is why I would usually recommend going to an independents to avoid this bias (although they may be greedy and looking for a sale as well). The only way to eliminate this bias is to separate the sight testing from the sales, I will try my best to do what I can to drive reform, but I need the support of my fellow optometrist, and it is easier said than done, corporate greed is an almost unbeatable foe.
TARGETS & INCENTIVES in OE PAY STRUCTURE
15 Jan 2013 12:20 #2
How can performance related pay be relevant to a health care professional? Should s/he not aspire to achieve clinical excellence regardless, and shouldn't customers have the right to expect a high degree of clinical excellence as a bare minimum?
How can the % of patients who have seen the optometrist and then have surgery possibly be the best guide to performance. In a sample of patients where there is a high percentage with pre existing eye problems and contra indicators for surgery, an optometrist who is actually exercising a duty of care and doing their job properly will have a low % conversion. A high conversion rate suggests exactly the opposite and there lies the conflict between targets and the well being of patients. An optometrist cannot be a target based salesperson!
With the following required "skills" it is certainly an eye opener (!!) clearly illustrating how the company operates and the pressure staff must be under to keep their jobs, also explaining why so many patients are complaining of problems!
"Have a strong commercial acumen, be able to work to targets"
"Excellent sales & influencing skills"
"Be able to Prioritise and follow a sales process"
I thought an optometrist was there to examine my eyes not sell me a product!
I wonder if to 'Prioritise' therefore means to sell the most expensive treatment to the patient?
My 'counsellor' was Vicky Franks and my optometrist was Tom Critchley. They certainly worked as a team (one of the attributes required in the job advert) to persuade me to sign up, conveniently ignoring my concerns about my dry eyes!
We are currently looking to recruit a resident Laser Optometrist based in our Chester store. As one of our resident Optometrists your key responsibilities will be to carry out Post Operative patient assessments, contact lens fits and standard eye examinations. You will be expected to create sales opportunities and deliver challenging but attainable targets with the highest standard of professionalism, quality and service. You will be required to advise and promote the benefits of Glasses, Contact Lens, Laser Vision Correction and IOL Surgery services to our patients with all the information they need to make an informed decision on the best type of treatment available for them including the costs involved. You will work well within a team and build an excellent working relationship with the Laser Vision Specialist in the stores.
Our Optometrist induction programme and the ongoing product training are designed to give you the key skills and technical ability to successfully deliver exceptional patient care and operational best practice in the role.
Ideally, the successful candidate will be an engaging and ambitious individual who has a strong desire to succeed, someone who is highly proactive and dynamic, and who takes personal responsibility for each and every patient. You will have a strong commercial acumen, be able to work to targets and be self motivated with a desire to continuously improve knowledge."
The ideal candidate will hold the following skills:
Articulate with excellent communication skills
Confident and tenacious
Excellent sales & influencing skills
Flexible/and open to change
Able to Prioritise and follow a sales process
• challenging but attainable targets
• have a strong commercial acumen... be able to work to targets
• Skills required include:
• Excellent sale and influencing skills
Why should an optometrist need influencing skils"?