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Finding the One

Two ODs opening their first practice together reflect on partnership and preparation during a pandemic

Deciding if it’s the right time or place to open a practice or even whether to partner with someone is a difficult choice. Many have said that the match has to have similar qualities to a marriage: parallel philosophies on patient care and practice, as well as a shared vision for the future.

Dr. Thai and Dr. Amad

Ruba Amad, OD, and Tracy Thai, OD, have found a successful business partnership with each other, and they are in the process of opening their first practice together—Eyediology Eye Care in Katy, Texas. After graduating from the University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO), in addition to filling in at independent practices, Dr. Amad began working at a Vision Source practice in the Houston area.

During that time, the location would host externs from UHCO; one of those students was Dr. Thai. After Dr. Thai’s graduation, she took a position at the same practice and the two got along effortlessly. “It just kind of worked out,” says Dr. Amad. “We have the same mentality about patient care, how we practice and how we treat patients. It makes things go really smoothly. We want to provide the best care possible and be as thorough as we can.”

For both doctors, becoming a practice owner was always on the horizon. Their boss and
mentor was extremely supportive, “as was the whole Vision Source team,” says Dr. Thai. “We became Vision Source members right from the start.”

Being part of the network proved to be a blessing for the doctors. “Vision Source and iCARE Advisors have provided us with plenty of tools and mentoring to help us become successful,” says Dr. Thai.

THE WINDS OF CHANGE

While the pandemic has caused quite a bit of helter-skelter for practice owners everywhere, Dr. Amad and Dr. Thai have chosen to find the silver lining. In fact, the doctors were interviewed just as Hurricane Laura was approaching the Texas/Louisiana area. The literal whirlwind of an opening year has kept the doctors focused. “We’re just trying to do our best with everything,” says Dr. Amad, “taking it one day at a time.” The good news?

With other practices having to cut back, the doctors predict a busy and full patient schedule. “Everyone we talk to says, ‘You couldn’t pick a better time to open than right now; now is the time.’” Originally, Dr. Thai will be there for three days a week, and Dr. Amad would be there for three days and eventually they will both be able to be there full time. To begin, the doctors plan to see mostly family and friends as they perfect their final touches. They also plan to visit schools in the area and introduce their services to businesses and industrial areas near the practice.

Within the practice, the doctors plan to focus mostly on medically based treatments, eventually adding a vision therapy room and a dry eye clinic. “We will have the high-tech instrumentation in exam lanes so that we can manage patients with diabetes [or] glaucoma, but the feel in the front and optical will be more boutique-like,” says Dr. Thai. “You can be more medically oriented and still offer a great retail experience in the optical.”

Aesthetically, the doctors dream of a clean, modern office with blues and brass finishes. Their space is full of windows and natural light plays a large part in their design, and they’re enjoying selecting the right décor and touches for their dream practice.

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