Nearly 92 percent of eye care professionals (ECPs) said that they do plan to reopen according to the results of the sixth wave of the Jobson Optical Research survey on the coronavirus impact on eye care businesses and ECP attitudes. However, 6 percent of respondents said that they are not sure if they can reopen and just more than 2 percent said that they will likely need to close their practices permanently. This latest survey covered responses submitted during April 16-19, 2020.
PLANS FOR REOPENING
The percentage of respondents who are working on a written plan for when their practice reopens increased to 43 percent up from 31 percent in the wave 5 survey results.
Nearly 45 percent said that they anticipate opening with normal hours of operation. Twenty-six percent said that they anticipate shortened hours of operation, while 17 percent expect to expand their hours to keep the office less crowded.
Fifty-six percent of respondents saying that they are starting to reschedule patient appointments for May and another 30 percent saying they are doing so for June.
Respondents recognized the need to communicate their reopening with patients, and they share their plans here.
- Phone calls: 72 percent
- Social media: 64 percent
- Email: 57 percent
- Text messaging: 44 percent
- Local media ads: 16 percent
- Not sure: 13 percent
Respondents anticipate making changes to practice protocols before reopening.
IMPACT ON THE BUSINESS
However, some significant gaps remain; 91 percent of respondents are currently under a stay-at-home order in their municipality. Sixty-one percent have laid off staff, with 42 percent of those respondents saying they have laid off all staff and 34 percent saying they have laid off three-quarters of their staff.
Nearly 18 percent of the 1,110 respondents in this wave said that they have been recently furloughed or lost their job. Nearly 24 percent are employed, and nearly 59 percent are an owner. Among those who have lost their jobs, 86 percent have applied for unemployment. Among the owners, 80 percent have applied for relief from the CARES Act.
Interest in telehealth continues to creep upward with 28 percent of respondents saying that they plan to offer telehealth options in the near future, and 29 percent saying that they have already begun to do so. The vast majority of those offering telehealth services are providing video/image consultation (82 percent), phone-based consultations (80 percent) and using mobile apps (24 percent). Sixty-five percent of those who are offering telehealth services have billed for them in the past two weeks.
PERSONAL HEALTH AND CONCERNS
While nearly 97 percent of respondents said that they have not been tested coronavirus themselves, nearly 3 percent said they have tested negative. Just less than 1 percent said that they tested positive. Overall, 7 percent of respondents said they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
In another sign that there is uncertainty about the recovery from the impact of the coronavirus, respondents noted that it may be some time before they are comfortable traveling to industry events.
Download the full results for wave 6.