Practice Unique: Lessons from the Pandemic

All things considered, the strength of private eye care practice resounds in their unique approach to the patient experience and their responsibility to the people they serve.

In our experience of serving numbers of private eye care practitioners as they surmounted the COVID-19 crisis ― including shutdown, navigating employee and patient concerns, and subsequent planning strategies to reopen―we gained the following insights into the community of private eye care practitioners:

All owners were more concerned about the health and livelihood of their eye care team than about their businesses.

Every practice owner in our group wanted to make sure that “their people” were taken care of through this pandemic.  Using payment deferrals, grants, stimulus money, and programs like the PPP loan, practice owners and our consulting team worked night and day to ensure that they had the resources they needed to provide for their team and their patients.

Business owners are often portrayed as heartless capitalists whose only concern is the bottom line.  Time after time through this crisis, we saw practice owners refuse to trigger layoffs, spend sleepless nights worried about their team’s financial situations, and genuine concern over “losing people” to this crisis.

Practice owners feel a special responsibility to the patients that they serve.

It is easy to say that private practice owners and teams are obsessed with a profit motive, or that money is the driving force behind outstanding care and service.  This crisis showed first-hand that each practice has a genuine “heart of care” for their patients.  As members of the community, the eye care team knows the challenges and concerns that their markets face.  They are the community.  They are willing to go out on a limb for people.  Almost all are willing to risk their health and welfare to take good care of people.

The community values its local businesses.

We are often asked, “How does the COVID-19 crisis affect the future of private eye care practice?”  It is easy to see in the behavior and sentiments during this crisis that people value and support their local small businesses.  Perhaps it is in our DNA to support our neighbors.  The bottom line is that we believe private ECPs will emerge even stronger from this.  Relationship and community have always been PECP’s strength.

Each practitioner is passionate about the way they view patient care.

“Cookie cutter” approaches and mass meetings did not work.  Each PECP saw the best way to handle this crisis differently.  Each person brought their own unique emotions, experiences, and education to handle this crisis.  Each community responded differently.  Each community was affected differently.

We are far from out of the woods yet.  But there is a resounding feeling of hope and optimism among all members of the Professional Vision Group community.

Are there lessons learned from this?  Absolutely.  What is the long-term economic impact?  Only time will tell.  One thing is for sure though:  It sure is hard to keep good people down.


Chris Morris is vice-president of Professional Vision Group, Inc.