Dr. Antonio Chirumbolo, OD sat down to speak with Dr. Kambiz Silani, OD of Beverly Hills Optometry about his role operating one of the premier dry-eye clinics in Los Angeles, CA and how he serves his community through concierge optometry.
What is concierge optometry?
The word “concierge” is not a common one in eyecare. You’re likely more familiar with it in hospitality or even primary care, but Dr. Silani believes in providing a “VIP, white-glove experience” to his patients. His higher-end services can include perks like house calls or remote practice, but he also builds that high-end experience into his physical practice.
High-end, VIP services
Not many optometrists can say that they provide house call services for their patients. Dr. Silani and his team have a specific clientele in Beverly Hills, CA that includes royal family members, corporate executives, and the Hollywood elite. These clients are often not available during typical office hours and prefer the privacy of their own homes or hotel rooms, far from prying eyes.
The team isn’t able to bring an entire exam room with them, so most on-site meetings with these clients are consultations. They are also able to provide certain dry eye treatments such as miboflow or eyelux, size and prescribe contact lenses, and even conduct limited medical treatment for infections with portable equipment. These visits also bring a focus to patient education and empowerment.
For anyone interested in possibly doing home visits, Dr. Silani recommends a few pieces of easily moveable equipment. Obviously, your auto-refractor and auto-keratometer are out, but you can pretty easily bring along a:
How do you start in concierge healthcare?
Dr. Silani was exposed to the idea of concierge healthcare services through his own PCP. As his optometry practice grew, he had the privilege of sharing some of his patients with his PCP and had the chance to see the deep relationships that were being established through the higher end, personalized services that they offered. Through his concierge services, Dr. Silani has had the opportunity to build more personal connections with his patients, improved their overall experience, and has also deepened his own love for patient care.
Not every practice is set up in Beverly Hills, CA or Manhattan, NY. If your practice is in a larger city or already works with patients with higher rates of disposable income, remote services may be a valuable service to offer! It’s important to understand that there is a distinction between on-site concierge services that can be offered more broadly and provide a white-glove experience to all of those who may visit your practice and the remote offerings Dr. Silani described previously.
“A great story came about recently, actually. A patient was opening a package and created a corneal abrasion. They called us over, so we took the fluorescein drops and our blue light filter and wrote a prescription on the spot!”
How do you bill for concierge healthcare?
For practice visits, Dr. Silani’s practice will honor insurances as normal, but for after hours or home visits, clients are typically paying at a premium and out of pocket. “Patients understand that. They get that. We’re taking the extra time and care to see them one on one.” They are also currently considering a monthly or yearly subscription service for high-end, off-site consults.
Marketing and branding a new line of business
“Marketing was a huge challenge early on, and we partnered with a great company called PatientPop, a digital marketing company.” Dr. Silani attributes PatientPop's assistance with both their practice site and marketing presence as a factor in becoming the best practice in Beverly Hills. Building their reputation across typical search results on Google, Yahoo, and even Yelp was huge, and his own team still covers social media and content-driven growth to promote their own voice.
Whether you're diving into a new market or starting up a more traditional practice, check out Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Optometry Practice!
Once there was a platform to stand on, there was an initial hurdle to creating relationships and trust with high-profile and high-net-worth clients. Thankfully, after a few clients bought in, the word of a concierge-style eyecare service began to spread quickly. “When you’re an early adopter of technology or very innovative in a certain niche, that can catch on very quickly…” Silani says.
The challenges of concierge healthcare
For those interested in pursuing a more mobile version of optometry, Dr. Silani recommends continuing to maintain and operate a physical location as well. Having your patients come through your door to establish rapport, establish authority, and as the momentum and relationship build, you can begin to do more remote care.
Once the initial hurdle is cleared and patients begin to pour in, the biggest challenge is time management. The necessary investment isn’t for everyone, and “you really have to be willing to go past that 9-5.” He is currently the only OD on staff with his team, and while he is looking to expand and scale, that does create further strain.
Tips from an OD owner
- Extend a hand and create relationships with other doctors in the area.
- This doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be limited to other ODs! Dr. Silani recommends opening communications with primary care doctors, dentists, etc.
- When selecting a practice to work with or for, be sure you are aligned with their core values and goals.
- You want to invest in your short term and long term goals with a practice that shares your mentality, drive, and interests in your eyecare journey!
Has anyone else out there tried more unique practice models? Tell us about your experience!