February 2024

Five Years of SNAPP Insider

Board members (l-r): Lisa Hamilton, OD; Richard Hults, OD; Milissa Stone; and Ken Kopolow, OD

By the SNAPP Board

This issue marks the 60th edition of the SNAPP Insider newsletter. That’s five years of SNAPP member successes, strategies, ideas and news we can use in our Pearle locations. This newsletter is one way of creating community in between the times we meet in person.

By sharing what we’ve tried and what works—and even what doesn’t—we can inspire others and gain inspiration.

Over the past 60 issues, we have posted many stories on a variety of topics: new services, changes in recall or marketing strategies that brought patients in, staff changes that allow managers to work on the business and much more.

Some of these projects have been big, such as acquiring or opening new locations or major remodels. But there’s not always a strong correlation between the potential positive impact of an idea and its cost. Indeed, some modifications that cost very little to implement can result in immediate increases in top- and/or bottom-line revenues.

We’d love your participation. What one or two processes have you tweaked in the past year? Where have you put your effort to increase efficiency or profitability? How has your presentation on products changed? We’d love to hear from you—and we encourage you to email us here.

In the following story, you’ll hear from board member Lisa Hamilton, OD, talking about a new idea she’s implemented.

New Ideas

The Four Rs of T-POC

By Lisa Hamilton, OD,
Hamilton Vision Center-Centennial

Here’s an idea that has me genuinely excited, particularly for my patients. That new idea is the Tear-based Point-of-Care Quantitative Testing Platform—T‑POC for short—brought to the market by Verséa Ophthalmics.

The T-POC platform is being used to improve patient care in the areas of ocular surface diseases including dry eye, ocular allergy, contact lens fitting and ocular surgery. The testing helps guide clinical management decisions that can optimize the ocular surface. These tests are simple to perform and deliver on the four Rs: rapid, repeatable, reproducible and reimbursable.

So what biomarkers can I test using T-POC? Quantitative results for both total IgE allergy testing and lactoferrin may be delivered within minutes using Verséa’s T-POC Quantitative Testing Platform. These quantitative results can help answer questions like the following.

• What is the cause of patient symptoms?

• Is it aqueous-deficient or evaporative disease?

• Is there an allergic component?

• Is this patient going to tolerate contact lenses?

• Is this patient going to obtain the optimal surgical outcomes?

The great thing about this new testing platform is that these results are going to inform my ongoing therapeutic decisions for my patients. And the quantitative results (a number) allow me to repeat testing at follow-up visits and compare results to evaluate therapeutic effectiveness. That’s helpful to me in continuing to inform my therapeutic decisions, and it can reinforce the importance of the therapy to my patients.

As you can see, integrating the T-POC Quantitative Testing Platform into my practice has made quite an impact, and with minimal personal investment due to the outstanding support offered by Verséa. Economically speaking, even if my practice were to break even on this new testing platform, the positive impact it has in informing my treatment decisions and enhancing patient satisfaction is worth every penny.

To learn more about this and other products from Verséa Ophthalmics, click here.

SNAPP Support

Meet Camila Martinez, Your New Member Services Representative

To help make sure that SNAPP members are leveraging all the benefits of being SNAPP members, SNAPP has brought on Camila Martinez as a member services representative. Her goal is to make sure that members are aware of SNAPP programs, benefits and the annual meeting. “We want to be sure that everyone is maximizing their membership services,” she says.

Camila Martinez

Martinez has a background in sales, and she’s currently studying biochemistry and pharmacy in college. She’s excited to learn more about the eye care space and was impressed by SNAPP’s organizational goals. “I like the companionship that SNAPP provides so that members can inspire each other. Any job can get lonely, so it’s great to know that there’s a support network that can help,” she says. She’s also been impressed by the people within the organization. “I like how much the leaders care about their members and how the goal of SNAPP is to help members have the best experiences,” she says.

The organization’s core values match her own, she says. “I am sociable and outgoing, and I love to meet new people and am open to learning new things.” When she’s not working or at school, she likes to hang out with friends or family, be active and read—particularly in the romance and fantasy genres.

Martinez will begin connecting with members but she also encourages SNAPP members to reach out to her with questions. When you email her at memberservices@snappgroup.org, the automated response will also have a meeting scheduler, and she encourages members to use that feature for consultative questions.

Contact Lens Ordering Platform

Introducing a New Contact Lens Software Operating System

Jared Noble is no stranger to the Pearle Vision community. His father, Bill Noble, is the founder and CEO of West Point Optical Group (WPOG), a Pearle Licensed Operator (LO) with 87 locations across 14 states. While working for WPOG as the “director of business transformation,” Noble saw the opportunity to create an end-to-end contact lens order management platform.

Jared Noble

Arrellio, as he’s named it, empowers operators to drive online patient reorders, automate monotonous order management tasks and retain control of their patient communication strategy. “This system was home-grown and built within this community,” he says. To date, Arrellio has routed more than 60,000 contact lens orders and is poised for continued growth in 2024.

There are three major advantages to Pearle providers by using Arrellio, he says.

Reorders. When patients are due to reorder, the system automates outreach to them and provides a seamless online ordering experience to ensure patients keep their business with your practice instead of online retailers. The easy-to-use interface for patients and staff, Noble believes, is a key differentiator between his platform and other solutions in the market.

Efficiency. Arrellio’s integration with the practice management/point-of-sale system used by Pearle LOs removes the need for double entry when leveraging the system. Furthermore, order status updates are communicated automatically to the patient, greatly reducing patient call volume and monotonous tasks performed by office staff.

Customization. The platform is customizable to the office’s needs, allowing operators to control their patient-facing assets, communication templates and operational flows.

Learn more by visiting the website www.arrellio.com, emailing jared@arrellio.com or calling Jared Noble at (614) 390-4321.


The Importance of Auditing Your Medical Records

Advice from Practice Compliance Solutions

Routine medical record audits serve three important functions.

1. They provide a check-up on documentation and billing patterns. Problematic compliance can be identified and corrected through training before a real audit happens and a large refund is demanded.

2. They can satisfy the recommendations and requirements of payers.

3. They can identify areas of revenue based on medically necessary care that are not being provided by the doctor.

Auditing medical records is an essential part of any compliance program. While there are no national legal mandates for voluntary audits, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recommends a minimum of 10 patient encounters per provider per year. Other payers are starting to recommend or even require evidence of medical record audits for credentialing. The audits can be conducted internally, or you can contract with a professional auditing service.

It is a good suggestion to have an outside or professional audit conducted initially with the implementation of a compliance program. It is unlikely that problems will be found if the internal auditor is not highly knowledgeable and trained in the law and audit process. Follow-up audits can be conducted annually and performed internally by the practice providers. Repeat professional audits are recommended at least every five years.

The consequences of noncompliance

The laws surrounding billing, coding and medical documentation are not only binding and enforced by law, but they also change regularly and often without warning. As such, there are steep consequences to not adhering to these regulations—consequences for which ignorance of the laws is no excuse. This was just recently confirmed by actions of the U.S. Supreme Court, stating claims that regulations were unknown or too complex did not even pass the court’s “laugh test.”

The penalties for providing care that is not medically necessary—according to preferred practice patterns and payer rules—and not accurately and completely documented can include heavy fines and potential removal from the provider panel. This is true for medical and vision plans. Every year, federal and state agencies levy millions of dollars in fines that could have been avoided by trusting the experts to look over your charts.

Need help?

Practice Compliance Solutions offers two different audit services. Learn more here.

HR Advice From AmCheck

Are You Hearing (and Listening to) Your Associates?

How can we show employees that their feedback is heard and valued?

First, thank them. This lets the employee know you received their input and that you appreciate their taking the time and energy to give it. If you plan to act on the feedback and employee assistance is feasible, ask the person or people who suggested the change if they’d like to be involved in executing it. Employees who identify a problem may have ideas about the solution.

Second, when you make a change based on employee feedback, make sure all affected employees are aware that it was a motivating factor. If appropriate, give credit for the idea where it’s due. If you’re unable to make a desired change, explain why.

In short, reward feedback with appreciation, transparency and the chance to participate in the change.

This Q&A does not constitute legal advice and does not address state or local law.

News of Interest

Spring COVID Boosters?

Members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices are expected to vote Feb. 28 on a spring COVID-19 booster for vulnerable groups.

WebMD has the full story here.

“365 Breathing Technique” May Reduce Glaucoma Symptoms

A study published in the Journal of Glaucoma in January 2024 found that following a “365 breathing technique” for six weeks in addition to pharmacological glaucoma treatment may help lower intraocular pressure and stress biomarker cortisol and improve autonomic dysfunction.

The breathing cycle is done three times a day, with a breathing rate of a breath in and out every 10 seconds, for five minutes. Read more here.

Spiral-shaped Lens May Improve Vision in Range of Distances and Lighting

French researchers have developed a spiral-shaped lens that may help maintain clear focus at different distances and varying light conditions. The lens works much like progressive lenses used for vision correction but without the distortions typically seen with those lenses.

It could help advance contact lens technologies, intraocular implants for cataracts and miniaturized imaging systems. Read more here.

Hydroquinone, Organic Compound Found in Trees, Could Prevent Contact Lens Eye Infections

A new study by researchers at universities in the U.K. and Thailand has found that hydroquinone, a naturally occurring material, is an effective disinfectant for contact lenses. Found in the bark of some trees, hydroquinone is highly effective at killing the microbial keratitis bacterium.

Researchers say they hope to “demonstrate that new agents made from natural products may be an excellent option to limit or reduce the risk of contact lens contamination.” Read more here.

Getty Images photo credits—5 years: HowLettery; audit: AndreyPopov; benefits: bankrx; breathe: andreswd; contacts: 31moonlight31; listening: CHRISTOPH BURGSTEDT-SCIENCE_PHOTO_LIBRARY; and tree: Hiroshi_Higuchi

Photo credit for spiral-shaped lens: Laurent Galinier

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