Amir Khoshnevis, OD, the Vision Source® administrator in North Carolina, and Michael Clark, OD, were having lunch one day in Charlotte when they walked past the display windows in the private practice that Michelle Mumford, OD, had opened in December 2011. Dr. Khoshnevis decided to go into the practice and ask Dr. Mumford to join him for dinner, so he could tell her about Vision Source®.
Dr. Mumford became a Vision Source® member in the summer of 2012. While that wasn’t soon enough to take advantage of Vision Source® pricing when equipping her office initially, it has helped to spur her growth. After having been a part of Vision Source® for about six months, she brought in an Optos Daytona unit. At The Exchange® in Boston in 2014, the first of those meetings she was able to attend, she purchased the Marco TRS-5100 refraction system for a second exam lane. “The benefits from my Vision Source® membership have allowed me to bring newer technology into my practice earlier than I might have otherwise,” she says.
When Dr. Mumford graduated from optometry school in 2008, she had a vision for her future practice. She planned to have a medical practice in a medical office complex. She laughs about that now because while she was searching for the right property, her vision completely changed. “There was definitely an evolution in my thinking,” she says. “The more I talked through what I wanted, the more I knew it wasn’t the sterile, medically focused practice I first imagined. I grew up wearing contact lenses and eyeglasses, which the cool kids didn’t do. So I wanted a place where people could have a good time, enjoy the experience and ultimately really enjoy their eyewear.”
As she expanded her location search beyond medical complexes, Dr. Mumford ended up finding a retail space in a high-traffic, high-end neighborhood. The glass front (the same one that had the displays that attracted Dr. Khoshnevis’ attention) grabbed her imagination, too. She hired designer Barbara Wright to turn the 1,500-square-foot location into an eyewear boutique in a family-friendly practice. “I had always pictured myself in a medical building, but the truth is that we are in retail.”
Her husband, Jeff Mumford, whose background is in business and finance, has been tremendously helpful in the process, she says. Her Vision Source® colleagues have been, too. “Going out on my own was an intimidating idea. But it’s so nice to know that I have many doctors I can call on who are willing to share their expertise with me,” Dr. Mumford says. “I always look forward to our Vision Source® monthly meetings.” That was important because she faced a learning curve on dispensary management. “I knew the medical side, but I had never made these kinds of purchasing decisions before.”
That’s where she picks up strategies about lab arrangements or products that could benefit her office. For example, she added Macro’s TRS 5100 to her new, second exam lane. Between that and the three team members that she has added since opening, she is so much more efficient. “I’ve been able to delegate a lot of duties to my technician, so that allows me to enjoy the fun part of the job—talking with patients—while still being able to increase the number of patients I see each day,” she says.
“We’ve been very busy, and we continue to increase our patient volume and awareness of the practice,” she says. It’s nearly time to add an additional team member, too. While the look of the practice has undergone an evolution, the focus on customer service has not changed. “Our original concept was that I wanted to keep a lower volume, with higher revenue per patient. That would also allow me to take on more challenging cases. The concept has been very successful,” she says. Yet she’s been able to build the medical practice, as well.
New or annual exam patients are led into the exam lane with the Marco TRS system, where she performs the autorefractions herself. “Every day, every exam, I hear comments on that. Patients will say how much easier it is,” Dr. Mumford says. “We have so much more flexibility, and we’re keeping the patient flow going more smoothly.”
And patients in the dispensary are enjoying perusing the designer and higher-end frame lines, such as Barton Perreira, Lindberg, Chanel, Tory Burch, Gucci, Face a Face and Tom Ford, among others. They’re having fun in there … just as Dr. Mumford envisioned they would.