BBR chairman explores eye care in the USA

8 December 2018

BBR chairman, Nick Rumney, has been away from the Hereford practice recently, visiting his friend and fellow optometrist, Tom Arnold, who owns Today’s Vision in the USA.

Being chair of BBR Optometry is not a static task, it requires constant attention to the needs of patients and clients and that means discovering how others do things. Nick met Tom, an inspirational specialist Contact Lens practitioner, at a conference in South Africa where they were both keynote speakers.


L-R BBR Optometry chairman, Nick Rumney and Today's Vision owner, Tom Arnold

Speaking of his first encounter with Tom, Nick said:
“For me, there was instant recognition of the quality of care and attention to detail that Tom expressed for his practice and his team. Following this, I decided to combine my annual attendance at the American Academy of Optometry with a visit to his practice, Today’s Vision, in suburban Houston.”

When Nick was asked what his first impressions were, he responded:
“It goes without saying that everything in Houston is written larger. From eight lane highways that aren’t even motorways in our sense, to huge FREE parking lots outside the malls that would pass for our high street. Tom’s practice, founded over twenty years ago, serves similar numbers of patients, a similar population demographic and to the same high standards as BBR, but over a very large ground floor unit. In fact, once I had learned to find my way around, the similarities were more obvious than the differences. First a clear linked division between discrete separate spectacle dispensing and examination lanes, to great staff facilities, bang up to date equipment and full air conditioning. Secondly, a strong reliance on technology to support, rather than dominate the business.”


BBR Optometry chairman, Nick Rumney

Whilst the NHS and the American health care systems are poles apart, the similarity is how little of the important aspects of optometric care are covered by the NHS or health insurance respectively. In his presentation to Tom’s staff, Nick discussed the innovative EyeLife monthly payment plan which is almost unheard of in the USA. In particular, just like BBR Optometry, Tom has built a reputation of the development of specialist services, especially medical optometry and scleral contact lenses.

As rugby coach, Clive Woodward once said, the difference between the very best teams frequently amounts to less than 1% on the day; this theory could be applied to Today’s Vision and BBR Optometry.

“We have just completed a 360 degree review of our customer service commitment and we will be adding in the subtle nuances I picked up from Tom; it’s all part of our evolution as a practice” added Nick.

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