The past year has been one of evolution and change for the IDOC organization, as the group moved to implement the key elements of a long-term strategic plan. Amid the changing business environment for independent ODs, IDOC saw an opportunity to innovate and adapt—not to just advise doctors about how to run their practice, “but to do it for them, better serving our members and the independent community,” IDOC president and chief executive officer Dave Brown noted. “This led us to the rollout of a complete range of ‘Let IDOC Do It’ services—meaning the practice off-loads the work to IDOC experts.”

Brown told Vision Monday that the goal behind this initiative was simple: IDOC wants to offer the kind of business expertise, tools, education and relationship-building that gives its members’ practices an edge and releases them from the burdens business owners face each day.

The organization has significantly invested into these services to bring to market the best products available.

In addition, he said, the ROI for members enrolled in these services has been significant. The five key areas the organization has concentrated on with this offering are:

• Marketing (website design, build and social media).
• Optical (inventory management).
• Finance (bookkeeping and benchmarking).
• HR (HR-staffed hotline, compliance documents, advice tailored to specific state laws).
• And Specialty to provide widespread coverage throughout the practice, freeing members’ time to focus on great patient care and pursuits outside of the office.

As part of this program, IDOC takes over the work of key parts of the practice. As a result, the ROI has been significant from the start for ECPs and IDOC has invested significantly to further support independent ODs.

Also over the past year in addition to the expansion of service offerings, IDOC has added seven new vendor partners and three ODs to its board of directors—Dr. Ansel Johnson, Dr. Katie Greiner and Dr. Janelle Davison—to lend their valuable offerings and expertise to the IDOC community. A few of the vendors also are “an offshoot of our internal DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) efforts and provide new options for our members to support diversity in their patient bases,” Brown said.

IDOC added seven new salespeople from various service selling backgrounds, as well as optical industry veterans, 10 new IDOC service-specific experts and an in-house marketing agency. Amid one of the toughest environments to hire and retain talent, IDOC was able to take its team fully remote, hire great talent to help IDOC succeed and repeat as a two-time winner of Great Place To Work certification, Brown said.

He added, “We now offer services that take work off the plate of the OD. And that work is typically in areas where an OD owner—and their staff too—are not trained to have expertise. Whereas our team is ‘All-Expert,’ trained bookkeepers, expert website builders, expert social marketers, trained inventory managers from retail outlets and more.”

Brown said IDOC’s members operate more than 2,200 practice locations and that these members are “highly engaged,” with 100 percent of members utilizing IDOC programs, more than 95 percent using three or more vendor programs and the organization is “nearly at 10 percent utilization of our services after only six months since launch,” he added.

“It is our belief that ‘numbers’ do not tell the story of the value of an alliance. Engagement of members in utilizing the alliance offerings, supporting partners and growth of the practices are correct metrics,” Brown noted. In 2022, IDOC wants to continue membership adoption of its new services as well as have more practices—even if in another alliance—adopt IDOC services.

“In 2022, we are striving to continue providing our members with outstanding service as we expand our member base, grow our full suite of hands-on services, and foster fruitful collaboration with our vendor partners,” Brown said.

Brown said IDOC would like to see 5,000-plus practices using IDOC services, “and soon.” IDOC members are not required to use any of the services, which Brown said reflects “how serious we are about helping independent optometry.”

He added, “There is no reason practices should be doing all this work on their own. We can do their marketing, host their website, do their digital marketing, close their books, provide HR help at the most crucial moments via a 24/7 hotline, and manage their entire frame inventory process.”

IDOC has seen “a recent influx of new practices, cold starts and buyouts, where ODs are seeking out help to get started, and taking advantage of all that IDOC has to offer from our services and member benefits,” Brown said. “This population will be able to grow faster and position themselves for success right out of the gate.”