Gerry is a partner/founder in a multi-doctor, two-location practice in Red Deer / Sylvan Lake, AB.
He has decades of patient care and practice management expertise and is always
willing to impart his wisdom onto others. Gerry is the founder of iXperts a practice management
consulting company and a co-founder of Canadian Vision Care which provides eye care
to under served patients in the Montego Bay area of Jamaica.
Dr. Gerry Leinweber
Doctor of Optometry
Doctors Eye Care
University of Waterloo 1980
Red Deer & Sylvan Lake, AB
What is something you plan on implementing in your practice this year?
Two technologies. First the California model of the Optos. Finally great colour, and great resolution. Expensive, but worth it. We had not bought before despite great wide angle, the quality of the image was not detailed enough for the macula and disc and most eye disease is at the posterior pole. This California model is the real deal. I would still invest in an OCT and HRT ahead of an Optos, but best is to have them all.
The second (and about $120,000 less expensive) technology and ultimately much more profitable for any office is the Digital Concierge. I have been developing this app over the past few years in my own practice. The intuitive software runs on an iPad. It can do pre-test, communicate (theoretically) with any practice EMR, allows for seamless capture of case history, lifestyle history and presents targeted relevant product marketing plus health messaging to the patient. More often than not the full range of recommendations are never delivered to the patient due to the time pressure we face during the eye examination process. The Digital Concierge will provide each patient with custom recommendations or what I call a vision wardrobe. Near field communication means as patients travel through the office, targeted messaging is delivered based on where they and who they are.
What metrics do you track in order to gauge your success?
I am careful not over analyze my practice metrics. Four key metrics suffice to keep a pulse on the health and direction my practice is going in. 2 metrics I call lead metrics and 2 would be lag metrics. The lead metrics I track are staff morale and NPS (net promoter score). Staff morale is tracked with anonymous surveys of the team to have them rank the practice managers on issues of; trust, respect, empowerment, etc. NPS is used by big business and simply asks patients on a scale of 1 to 10 how likely they would be to recommend our practice to someone else. The lag metrics I track are gross profit (Practice Gross Income less Cost of Goods) which is really the only metric staff can influence. Obviously we track net profit (Net profit is Gross Profit after all expenses and amount a practice would pay for OD services) as this is essential and is impacted more by owners than staff.
What advice would you give a new grad today?
Two things. First, be aware of the dreaded disease of “Doctoritis.” Be open to learn from older OD’s and from your patients. You really don’t know what you don’t know when you start. Second, be a strong independent, AND learn how to be interdependent with fellow OD’s. Our profession is challenged by many forms of “dependency” from multi-nationals to “side by side” opticals next door to wholesale companies that are also your retail competition but claim they are not. If a relationship with any other business or person doesn’t allow you to recommend treatments and products you feel are best for your patients, you likely have a dependency that is not healthy. Something might look good in the short term, but ultimately is going to impact negatively the Dr/Pte relationship. And when there is low or no trust in the Dr/Pte relationship, everyone loses. Build trust by doing your best for each patient, not what is best for some supplier, or yourself. Your long term success and what is best for you in the long run is to build trust and mutual respect. Both take time and effort. But they are worth it.
What business books would you recommend other ECPs read?
Amanda Lang, former host of the CBC show The Exchange, has a new book out titled “The Beauty of Discomfort: How What We Avoid is What We Need” This book comes at a critical time in the life cycle of the profession of Optometry. We have a profession that is decades old, stable and reasonably profitable – this makes Optometry a target for upstart companies to offer the same kind of services and products that we do but in a non traditional model that often times is immediately embraced by consumers. To combat this, we need to learn to tolerate and then embrace discomfort which ultimately becomes the foundation for change. In her new book, Lang goes into more detail on how we can go about embracing discomfort so that it makes us more resilient and more successful in our practices.
Most people know I am an avid pilot. Most recently I have been building a motor glider. A motor glider is a fixed-wing aircraft that can be flown with or without an engine.
What is something you believed to be true for a long time only to find out you were wrong?
There are lots of times where I thought something to be true only to find out that I was wrong. I consider myself to be pretty self-aware which experts in EQ say is a very important attribute to success not only in business but life in general. For people who know me I am passionate about many things and will argue one side with an intensity the some might interpret as arrogance. Prove me wrong and I am completely open to admitting my mistakes, learning from that and moving on. I don’t let my ego get in the way. The recent purchase of the Optos is a great example. (:
What was the last gift you gave someone?
The last gift that I gave was a book written by Dr. Jason Fung, a Toronto nephrologist that takes care of diabetic patients with kidney damage most often caused by diabetes. Dr. Fung’s book is called the Obesity Code. The basic thesis is that weight gain and subsequent weight loss is hormonally controlled. With insulin being the key hormone in that process. Insulin production and ultimately insulin resistance is what leads to weight gain and controlling insulin production via diet and fasting is the best way to manage weight. It takes the eat less exercise more paradigm and flips it on its head.
What would you do if you won 10 million dollars? What would you do with your practice?
I would continue to practice in Red Deer, AB and I would give all of that money to the eye care clinic that I have been building in Montego Bay, Jamaica through the charity, Canadian Vision Care. The new clinic is called a Community Vision Centre of Excellence and I would ask every OD in Canada to consider volunteering for this exciting project. Mobay is a short plane ride for most of us, and the lessons you will learn clinically are priceless.