LOCATION: HAMILTON, MONTANA
How a Doctor Made his Wife Happy
Dr. Dirk Beyer, an optometrist based in Hamilton, Montana had no idea how much he didn’t know when he came out of optometry school.
“I had no idea how to run a practice,” said Dr. Beyer.
After graduating from the University of Houston College of Optometry in 1996, Dr. Beyer started his residency working for a government agency – the Indian Health Services. Granted, it gave a tremendous amount of hands-on experience on the clinical side, but it did nothing to prepare him for the real task of running a for-profit practice.
In 2000, after 4 years with Indian Health Services, Dr. Beyer bought a practice of his own. Initially there were 3 doctors and they went through 22 staff in a two-year period! There were no real management systems in place to properly run the business side of the practice.
After two years of struggling, he knew he needed some help. He hired a practice management consulting firm and quickly made remarkable improvement.
“I went from $353,000 in production per year to $750,000 per year in just over a 2-year period,” said Dr. Beyer. “I’m more organized and handling staff is a lot better and a lot easier.”
“We use statistics to keep us in line. Our scheduling is better, recall is better. The whole practice atmosphere has improved,” explained Dr. Beyer. “I would propitiate to staff or with clients if they didn’t get good service and I would give service away. Consulting got the practice to the point where I’m just the doctor and the staff take care of handling clients. It’s an incredibly successful formula. We handled things across the boards as well as got rid of a lot of bad management habits.
“We are excellent at pediatrics, filling contact lens prescriptions and educating our patients. These have all contributed to our big referral base.”
With this success, Dr. Beyer was able to purchase a new building with all new equipment and hired some new staff for expansion. He said, “A key aspect of consulting is getting new staff trained and operational.”
“Even given the success of the practice, I maintain consulting because it’s easy to wander off and do poorly. It enables me to stay on track even though we’re doing very well.”
He feels, though, that the biggest benefit has not been financial or organizational. The biggest benefit has been that his wife is now sleeping at night. Things used to be so stressful that his wife, Terri – his high school sweetheart – couldn’t sleep at night. Now she is happy and they have been able to have 3 children over the last 6 years.
His favorite hobbies are bow hunting, golf, snowboarding and skiing. “That’s why I love Montana, there are so many opportunities to do those activities,” exclaimed Dr. Beyer.
“I would like to add one more thing,” said Dr. Beyer, “Just because a practice has been in existence for many, many years doesn’t mean the doctor or the staff are doing well. It could just be they have been making the same mistakes over and over again for years. Consulting can help you to see the areas you’re blind to so you can recover and cause your production to go even higher.”