Eye care clinics usually compensate eye care professionals based on a percentage of the collections they bring in. This method is great for the employers but not really for the patients since ODs may begin to put quantity over quality. Those ophthalmologists who are starting out their new careers will also be at a disadvantage. These younger optometrists may be motivated to help patients, but the way they are being compensated may not encourage them to give quality in their care. This system is often at odds with providing quality care. Student debt can also make this problem worse. It has been found that a recent graduate on average owes $267,000 before they even find their first job. This huge number gets even worse when you find out that their job is most likely to pay $120,000 yearly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It also depends on where you are living. If you are living in the same area has your optometry school, you will also be in direct competition with all the recent graduates for limited positions.
What can you expect from new beginners riddled with debt and low paying jobs? They will have the incentive to work with quantity over quality. The patients may even be steered towards procedures they may not need, which can make them lose faith for the eye clinic too.
So, how do we change the system that is creating problems with eye care? For older generations, there wasn’t a huge amount of debt to be dealt with. This is probably why the traditional method of compensation did not become a burden like it would for the current generation. There are plenty of changes you can make to heal the broken system.
Paying a competitive base salary as well as bonuses based on patient satisfaction can get the focus back on the quality of eye care. This bonus will be based on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and other common experience and clinical metrics. The goal is to make sure that the patient trusts you and believes in your optometry expertise. The care that is outside of the patient’s comfort zone or is unneeded should not be pushed. The interest of the clinic and the patient should align.
This will end up as a win-win for the providers and the patients. It can promote a healthy work environment that ensures that optometrists are comfortable in the way treatment plans are developed. They will be reassured if they know that their salary is not linked to how much care they can produce. By reframing the eye care experience into the care and happiness of the patient and staff, you will be able to lead a reputable eye care program.