5 Ways to Find Ancillary Revenue Opportunities With Ophthalmology Analytics Software

by Michael B. Rivers, MD | ,

In today’s environment, it can be hard to keep your ophthalmology practice profitable. That’s why so many ophthalmologists are making efforts to augment their standard revenue from office visits and surgical procedures by finding patients for clinical trials and better serving their patients by offering beneficial elective procedures, services and products.

To help you in your efforts related to ancillary revenue streams and patient service, consider utilizing a robust ophthalmology analytics platform. Let’s take a look at a few ways this software can help you identify such opportunities.

1. Find patients who may benefit from elective procedures

Many elective or semi-elective ophthalmology procedures have been found to be extremely safe and effective for enhancing patients’ vision. These include refractive procedures such as laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and IOL implants.

With the right ophthalmology analytics software, you can apply dynamic filters to start narrowing down potential candidates who would benefit from these procedures. For instance, if you decide to start offering IOL implants, Modernizing Medicine®’s Premium Analytics lets you export a list of patients who need cataract surgery.

You also have the option to exclude patients from the list if they have certain characteristics, such as being diagnosed with severe map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy, keratoconus, Fuchs’ dystrophy, macular degeneration, epiretinal membranes and diabetic retinopathy. Once you’ve identified your desired candidates, you can discuss with them the option to add a premium IOL and/or ancillary laser vision correction during their cataract surgery.

In Premium Analytics, you can also use the patient demographics report to help you determine additional elective procedures and services that may benefit your existing patients. For example, if you drill down to look at the patients who have come in within the past year, you may notice that you have a large population of Caucasian women age 30–60 who live in relatively high-income urban zip codes.

In this case, you might want to consider offering oculoplastics and aesthetic services, such as:

  • Blepharoplasty
    • Upper eyelid blepharoplasty
    • Lower eyelid blepharoplasty
    • Double eyelid blepharoplasty
  • Epicanthoplasty
  • Canthoplasty
  • Ptosis repair
  • Cosmetic facelift surgery
  • Injectables
  • Chemical peels
  • Facial fillers
  • Microneedling
  • Laser rejuvenation
  • Ablative laser skin resurfacing
  • Micro-focused ultrasound skin lifting
  • Vascular laser

Conversely, if your patient population is primarily made up of men, purchasing aesthetic equipment and hiring an aesthetician may not produce a good return on investment.

However, it’s possible that if you drilled down to specific locations, you’d see that one has a much-higher-than-average Caucasian female population, so you might consider adding cosmetic services at that location only.

Even if you have some idea of your patients’ demographic makeup without using medical practice analytics software, it’s easy to see how accessing precise data and filtering capabilities can make it easier to spot trends and patient niches. Plus, Premium Analytics even allows you to drill down and apply filters in real time, without having to export a spreadsheet.

Once you’ve determined which elective procedures to offer, you can use filters to identify patients who may require follow-up. For instance, if patients come in for a LASIK consultation but never schedule the procedure, you can mail them a postcard advertising a discount on LASIK. Or if they get one treatment of facial fillers but don’t come back, you can send them an email to remind them to come in again for another treatment.

Of course, identifying possible new offerings and gauging patient interest is just the starting point. You need to screen each patient for other conditions or factors that could make the procedure more risky and make sure they fully understand the potential complications.

It’s essential to have an in-depth conversation about their goals and expectations to make sure they have a realistic outlook and can provide fully informed consent. As long as all these conditions are met, elective procedures can be beneficial for both your patients and your practice.

2. Identifying which specialized services are worth bringing in house

Another good opportunity to bring in additional revenue is to hire specialists to handle cases that you currently refer to other practices, such as:

  • Retina
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataract and refractive
  • Pediatrics
  • Dry eye
  • Ophthalmic pathology

However, you need to make sure you handle enough of these procedures for a specialist to be profitable. If you only have 50 glaucoma patients at your practice, a glaucoma specialist won’t have much to do unless they only come in one day a week.

With the right ophthalmology analytics software, such as our Premium Analytics platform, you can easily analyze your outbound referrals. You can see not only where you’re referring the most patients, but also what types of cases you’re sending.

If you identify a specialized service that’s worth bringing in house, make sure that your ophthalmology EHR system supports the subspecialty. When your EHR has medical content and workflows built in by on-staff physicians like EMA™ for ophthalmology does, you can enjoy a streamlined workflow without having to go through and build templates yourself.

3. Identify patients for clinical research studies

Clinical research trials can be another important source of ancillary revenue for ophthalmologists. However, finding patients who meet the necessary criteria can sometimes be extremely difficult and time-consuming.

With ophthalmology analytics software like Premium Analytics, you can apply the following filters to narrow down patient lists:

  • Provider
  • ICD-10 code
  • CPT code
  • Location
  • Modifier
  • Date last seen (year, quarter, month, day)
  • Tax ID
  • Treatment plan
  • Medication
  • Pathology results
  • New/established patient
  • Diagnosis
  • Primary insurance
  • Age decile
  • Past medical history

This allows you to drill down in just seconds to find specific patient groups, such as:

  • Diabetic patients with macular edema
  • Glaucoma patients with high intraocular pressure
  • Cornea patients with LASIK scarring

Once you’ve generated a list, you can reach out to the selected patients to discuss the benefits and risks of participating in the clinical trials.

4. Market new cosmeceutical products

Ophthalmologists help people see better, so why not help people look better, too?

Today, an increasing number of ophthalmology practices are turning to cosmetic and aesthetic products to help bring in additional revenue while providing patients with in-demand services.

In a way, it fits well with the specialty—the eyes are part of the face, and they can have a big impact on people’s appearances. Plus, many cosmeceuticals target the areas around the eye, where wrinkles and eye bags are likely to develop.

Cosmetic products that ophthalmology practices may offer include:

  • Eye creams and other anti-aging products
  • Scar cream
  • Antioxidants
  • Retinoids
  • Anti-pigment agents
  • Moisturizers
  • Lash growth medications

When determining who to market these products to, a good place to start is to target Caucasian women age 30–60, similar to oculoplastics procedures. If you decide to start offering a cosmeceutical scar cream, you could generate a list of patients who have had eyelid surgery within the past six months.

5. Create or expand your optical dispensary

Having an optical dispensary in your office can be a great way to bring in more revenue. At the same time, it can provide patients the convenience of purchasing their eyewear right after their appointment, without making the trip to a separate prescription eyewear retailer.

Even if you already have a dispensary selling basic frames and lenses, you might benefit from adding some additional products and options. With ophthalmology analytics software, you can help determine which products make the most sense to offer and which patient populations would benefit most from making them conveniently available.

Here are some products to consider, along with some ideas for patient target markets:

  • Luxury designer frames – patients who live in wealthier zip codes
  • Reading glasses – patients with hyperopia
  • Prescription sunglasses – myopic adults who wear glasses
  • Non-prescription sunglasses – patients who don’t wear glasses
  • Prescription lens coatings and options – patients who haven’t gotten new glasses in 1–2 years
    • Sun-adaptive coating
    • Free-form progressive lenses – patients over 50 who are hyperopic and myopic
    • Anti-reflective coating
    • Scratch-resistant coating
    • UV protection coating
    • Ultra-thin lenses
  • Contact lens options beyond the usual monthly, weekly and daily soft lenses
    • Extra moist contacts – patients who wear contacts and have complained of dry eye
    • Extended-wear contacts – patients under 25, especially males
    • Multifocal contact lenses – patients over 50 who are hyperopic and myopic
    • Toric lenses – astigmatism patients with a chief complaint of blurry vision

Without the right tools, managing product sales and inventory can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to also look for an ophthalmology EHR like EMA that interfaces with optical inventory management software.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve looked at five different ways ophthalmology analytics can help you find ancillary revenue opportunities and provide additional services to better serve your patients. With a robust, interactive analytics platform like Premium Analytics, you can find patients for clinical studies and identify which products and services could be the most useful for your patients.

Then, you can generate lists of specific patients who might be interested and communicate with them to make sure they are aware of all of their treatment options. The end result? You can help create ancillary revenue streams for your practice while providing patients with better service.

Interested in seeing Premium Analytics for yourself?

Michael B. Rivers, MD

Michael B. Rivers, MD

Director, EMA Ophthalmology

Dr. Michael B. Rivers is the Director of EMA Ophthalmology. In this role, he helps Modernizing Medicine evolve the ophthalmology platform by combining his years of experience as a board-certified ophthalmologist and retina surgeon with his expertise implementing and using the EMA EHR system at the Retina Group of Washington (RGW). Michael speaks with physician users, listens to their needs and communicates them to the development, customer success and other teams at Modernizing Medicine. 

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