Advancing the National Vision Doctor of Optometry Network
At National Vision, we believe everyone deserves to see their best to live their best. Being able to see well is imperative to leading a productive, fulfilling and rewarding life. Unfortunately, as optics in the U.S. has evolved, seeing well has become quite expensive. But it doesn’t have to be that way – that’s why our mission is to help people by making quality eye care and eyewear more affordable and accessible.
We recognize that doctors are the heart of our business. Providing patient care in 44 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, doctors are offered a unique opportunity to focus solely on the patient. We support them by letting them do what they do best – and that’s being a doctor.
2016 was a big year in our efforts to advance the National Vision Doctor of Optometry network. We recently sat down with Alexander Smith, O.D., Vice President (VP) of Professional Services, to gain a better understanding of his 2017 goals for our Doctor of Optometry network.
As Vice President of Professional Services focusing on Doctor Development, what are your main responsibilities and goals?
“My two main responsibilities are to make sure that all of the doctors in our network meet the highest standard of clinical care and to ensure that they are happy and fulfilled with their careers. I oversee the peer review process and clinical panel that constantly monitors doctors in the network to evaluate their performance from a clinical standpoint. I also am constantly working on enhancing the patient and doctor experience. In the end my ultimate goal and focus is always on taking care of our patients.”
What is your vision for the National Vision Doctor of Optometry network?
“As an optometrist myself, I know the importance of clear, consistent communication. It is important that we have open dialogue between myself, the doctors and the rest of our team to make sure everyone is on the same page and working towards our primary goal – taking care of patients. I am committed to understanding the needs, challenges and perspectives of our doctors so that we can give our patients the care they need and deserve.”
What are you most proud of about being part of the National Vision team?
“First and foremost, I am proud to be part of a team that takes care of underserved patients. There are more than 40 million people that have no access to eye care and if we did not see them, they would have nowhere else to go.
We truly give back every day by seeing these patients, many who have not had access to health care in decades. It’s very rewarding to do that.
It is not uncommon to diagnose many systemic diseases right in the exam chair. I truly feel we are associated with the brightest and best clinicians in the nation. With the amount of pathology seen, doctors in our network have no choice but to be the best of the best and I am proud to be amongst them.
As an optometrist, I’m also proud of being part of such a doctor-centric organization – a place that understands that doctors are the heart of every office and works tirelessly to ensure their happiness. Everyone has the same goal, from our receptionists to our CEO – to take care of our patients and serve the underserved.”
As an optometrist who practiced with America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses prior to your current role, what is the biggest piece of advice you can offer to doctors practicing in our setting?
“The biggest piece of advice I can share is to have an open mind. Be proud of the fact that we are taking care of patients that no one else will, and be very open and communicate with everyone who is here to support you – don’t feel like you are stuck by yourself on an island in your exam room. You have the power to change things and help the process, so reach out to us, and let us know if there is a problem. We have a large network of doctors including area doctors that can be called upon any time. And I am always available to all of our doctors.”
What are you most looking forward to in 2017 at National Vision?
“In 2017 we are continuing to enhance our clinical technology investment across offices in all our brands, including updating more retinal cameras and digital exam lane equipment. We are also finding new ways to refine and improve the scheduler so that each patient receives the individual care needed.
Perhaps most importantly, we are looking at many different ways to increase our communication to doctors in our network. We want to hear what their needs are so that they can give the highest level of patient care possible. Collectively we are much smarter than any one of us is individually, and I feel very lucky to be affiliated with such a large group of amazingly talented and smart clinicians. We are blazing the way to taking care of underserved patients together, and I can’t thank them enough for their contributions to the vision.”
More About Dr. Smith
Dr. Smith has 16 years of experience in the ophthalmic industry. He began his career as a practicing Optometrist at America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Beyond his clinical expertise, Dr. Smith has proven leadership and management experience with large, successful national optometric groups. His areas of expertise include recruiting and managing large numbers of optometrists nationally, setting and evaluating clinical and medical standards and protocols, practice acquisitions and transitions, professional mentorship, and medical equipment and technology testing and decision making.
Dr. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from James Madison University, and a Bachelor of Science (BS) and Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. He is in the process of obtaining his Georgia license so that he can continue to provide patient care.
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