So often when we speak about rising stars in vision therapy we think of the many patients who we have helped succeed in life, but in this blog the star to whom we refer is an optometrist, Miki Lyn D’Angelo, O.D. A recent graduate of the Residency program whose site supervisor is one of our VisionHelp colleagues, Dr. Barry Tannen, Dr. D’Angelo opened a practice specializing in vision therapy together with another optometrist, Dr. Jessica Fulmer. It was only three years ago that Dr. Tannen referenced Dr. D’Angelo as his incoming Resident, anticipating that she would join the ranks of other Residency grads who venture beyond his practice in New Jersey to help the many patients in need of vision therapy services. From networking at COVD meetings to becoming the social media face of New Grad Optometry for vision therapy, Dr. D’Angelo has methodically and successfully pursued her passion.
What have been the key ingredients to her success? In a case series of videos for Review of Optometric Business earlier this year, Drs. Fulmer and D’Angelo outlined three essential factors to their model:
- Establishing a specialty practice with no optical
- Developing a business model
- Building referrals
Dr. D’Angelo followed this up with an extended version that appeared online yesterday in Review of Optometric Business. You can read all about it for yourself, but the concept of having a specialty VT practice with no optical is a bold move. I know this well, because we made that decision in our practice about six years ago and haven’t regretted it for a day. While an optical center can generate significant profits, it is neither a unique service nor one that comes without significant tradeoffs. The busy-ness of that aspect of business, in terms of space allocation and staff time, has its own significant costs that can dilute one’s efforts toward focusing on the unique strengths of the practice.
I want to highlight something that Dr. D’Angelo wrote that is so important regarding networking: “We went to every OD, OMD, PCP, and every other professional who would let us into their office to talk to them. We gave them pamphlets and talked with them about how we were different and what services we provided. We also offered an in-service targeted at local occupational therapists and physical therapists to educate them on vision therapy. Additionally, we linked up with a local hospital that deals heavily with concussion patients, which has allowed us to be affiliates. We have become their go-to doctors for patients with persistent visual issues following a traumatic brain injury.”
And her piece de resistance: “The takeaway lesson: When you decide to take the plunge and open cold, you must be willing to dedicate the time and effort to be successful. You are only going to get what you put into it.”