Practice management consultants have me in their sights. I get countless unsolicited e-mail advertisements for the next great meeting or seminar or in-office consultation:

Do you wish your employees were smarter, nicer, taller? We can make your employees turn into money-making automatons in our Better Eyecare Through Mind-Altering Drugs seminar!

Finance your eye care technology for nothing! Just contact our bank for instant CASH electronically sent to your own personal bank account. Presented by the We Know Your Rich Uncle in Nigeria Finance Company.

Are you a doctor or a dork? Look in the mirror. Yeah, youre a dork. Our optometric fashion consultation will have you flipping your collars and wearing your ball cap sideways for fun and profit!

Its like they know me. I mean, do they have a camera in my office? My employees can sometimes be bears. I am always chasing cash flow. And, well, I am a dork.

So, why not hire one of these clever consultants?

One time I did. Years ago, we spent thousands of dollars and we all flew out to California for intense training in practice management. It was going well until we realized that they were actually recruiting us for their religion. I guess we should have known when they had us kneel at that golden calf before we started. We escaped by digging a tunnel out of the bathroom with a stainless steel golf club spud.

Oh, their ideas did in fact make us money. Their in-office communication ideas directly led to at least $4 in cash. Sold a pair of nosepads that I used to just give away. Genius. Also, I will have my foot in the door when their spaceship takes off just prior to the end of the world in 2015. Good investment overall, Id say.

With gas prices, its tough for optometrists, too. Just like all Americans, we have to cut back where it hurts the most: Starbucks. Times are hard.

So, I was thinking that maybe its time to reconsider and get some more training by a practice management consultant again.

I decided to get into one of those online training group things.

Maybe it was a mistake. Or, maybe Im just computer illiterate.

I mean, I paid close attention to all the training modules. I did every single thing they told me to do: I put the staff in hot pants. I grew a pencil-thin mustache and slicked back my hair. I had happy hour from 3 to 11 p.m. every single day, and ladies got in with no cover charge. I hired an ex-sumo wrestler to keep the riffraff out. I bought a pink stretch limo to tote people back and forth from their motels, and I gave lottery tickets to the high rollers.


My sales in multiple pairs of glasses did not improve. On the other hand, I made $6,000 in tips, one dollar at a time, and was voted BEST EXOTIC OPTOMETRY OFFICE in the local paper. I did gain a lot of 22- to 27-year-old male patients, but several preachers wives changed doctors.

I could have been confused when I first logged on, I guess. I thought www.oooohdoctor!.com seemed like a good site for eye doctors. Wouldnt you?

In other words, be careful choosing practice management help. Next time, I plan to hire someone who knows my business front to back, someone who is truly invested in my success, someone who has experience and loves the small town practice of optometry. I will pay him whatever he asks.

It will be me.

Vol. No: 145:09Issue: 9/15/2008