ProAccounts integration with Optomate Touch eliminates optical stock management burden

Manual data entry consumes an estimated 15-20 hours per month for optical practices.

The time it takes to introduce new optical stock into the practice management system is the bane of independent optometry. But ProVision’s new automated software solution, ProAccounts, which has been integrated with the Optomate Touch, is generating efficiencies many have never experienced before.

Entering invoices and new frame creation. Ask any independent optometry practice, and these two items will sit near the top of the most time-consuming and tedious tasks on their to-do list. While a necessary chore, these manual data entry processes consume an estimated 15-20 hours per month, at an annual cost of $6,000 to the practice.

For years, independents have yearned for an automated system that would take care of this task with a few simple clicks. Now, their pleas have been heard, with Australia’s largest independent optometry network ProVision commencing the rollout of its ProAccounts integration with the Optomate Touch practice management system.

Andrew Parker

Many have already labeled this technology a “game-changer”, with ProVision business systems manager Mr. Andrew Parker – who has been with the organization for 10 years – believing it will become one of the most valuable systems ProVision has developed for members. Practices involved in a four-month pilot have reported saving as much as 67 hours on staff labor.

To explain how it works, Parker says the journey began in 2020 when ProVision first introduced ProAccounts, a new member invoice and statement portal. It aimed to have all suppliers provide electronic invoices daily, as opposed to weekly or monthly. With ProVision acting as the intermediary between practice and supplier through a chargeback arrangement, this invoice consistency streamlined its own internal processes, and effectively allowed it to monitor purchases in real-time.

For practices, it meant statements and misplaced invoices could be accessed on-demand in an online portal, while avoiding surprises by granting full visibility of frames and sunglasses purchases in real-time, across participating supplier partners. This also translated into fewer headaches for suppliers.

Once the ProAccounts portal was launched to members in early 2020, the next phase began to integrate the invoice and frame information into practice management systems. It has taken two and a half years to reach this point, with 11 out of 19 frame suppliers now meeting the requirements to be involved with ProAccounts integration with Optomate Touch. Two more will come online soon and ProVision continues to work with the remainder.

With a critical mass of suppliers now involved in the ProAccounts integration, Parker says ProVision is now leveraging this technology to drive major efficiencies in the practice.

By integrating ProAccounts with Optomate Touch, practices can now simply order frames and enter the stock invoice number into the practice management system. Optomate Touch will sync with ProAccounts to update stock listings. If a product isn’t already in the practice’s catalog, Optomate Touch will automatically download all relevant product data from ProAccounts including cost pricing, description, quantities and any applicable discounts.

ProVision now estimates that entering new stock takes as little as 10-60 seconds.

“It means you don’t have practice staff sitting and typing data trying to build new frames in the stock file. The invoice can provide all that frame information and build the frames in the background based on what the practice is buying,” Parker explains.

“There’s at least 15 data points to set up a frame, including elements like the barcode which is the unique identifier that we can connect all our systems to – and very rarely would a practice enter. There is a stock supplier code, the model, brand, eye, bridge, temple and material data, as well as the shape and the category it fits into. There’s also the cost price and selling price, among others. To do this for each frame has traditionally been a time-consuming manual process. Now they can instantly bring any quantity of frames into their practice management system at the touch of a button.”

The pilot exceeds expectations

ProVision worked with Optomate’s Australian-based team for six months to develop the software. While Optomate had an existing e-catalogue system, Parker says only a handful of suppliers actively kept it up to date. It also meant practices were uploading many unnecessary frames into their system.

He says there was a major focus on making ProAccounts user-friendly for practices, which meant making the technology more sophisticated than originally planned.

“Initially, we considered designing it so practices would bring frames in through an e-catalogue, and then download the invoice. But then we thought, let’s skip that step and only import and generate the frames that they’re buying based on all the data attached to the invoice,” Parker says.

“And that really resonated with our members; anyone who has used an inventory system knows there’s always too many products in the system that you haven’t bought or stocked for years.”

Once this was completed, ProVision piloted the program with 12 practices for four months. Among those were Young Eyes Optometrists (NSW) and Gulf and Ranges Optometrists (SA), each reporting substantial resource savings over a four-month period.

For Young Eyes Optometrists, it previously estimated spending 68 hours and $1,700 in labor costs to process 409 invoices. After using ProAccounts integrated with Optomate Touch, this was reduced to seven hours and $175 labor, saving 61 hours and $1,525.

Gulf and Ranges Optometrists found similar efficiencies, reducing the time spent on 447 invoices from 75 hours to 7.5 hours, saving 67.5 hours or $1,678.

“I have these wonderful moments over Zoom calls with practices when we install the software. When they type in the first invoice and push the button, it’s a real ‘oh wow’ moment, because all of a sudden it’s taken care of that box of frames sitting in the corner and saved them so much time,” Parker explains.

“It’s only been available for three months and we’ve got 50 active practices and another 31 that we’re talking to. We wanted to gradually roll this out and hold everyone’s hand and we’ve been able to do that, but the phone just hasn’t stopped, and the testimonials keep coming.”

Parker acknowledges ProAccounts is far from the finished product. The next priority is bringing more frame suppliers into the tent. To protect the integrity of the system and ensure value for members, ProVision has set a high bar, with suppliers needing to have 95% accuracy between their invoice and own e-catalogue data.

Due to the relatively high turnover of frames, Parker says it makes sense to start with this product first. But he hopes ProAccounts integration with Optomate Touch will extend to include ophthalmic lenses, contact lenses, eye drops and other accessories sold in the practice.

“It’ll be an iterative journey where we will keep developing and broadening the scope of what we can do for practices. It’s just the beginning which is super exciting.”

What do practices think?

For Horsfalls Optometrists, in Echuca, Victoria, the new arrival of frames is now cause for excitement. The practice did not realize how much time was spent on data entry until the integration came along.

“Now our new stock is sorted in 30 seconds instead of 30 minutes,” practice manager Ms. Jess Bussell says.

Because the practice stocks 90% of its frames from ProVision’s preferred suppliers, Bussell says staff can now focus on patients without piling up admin tasks.

“Corporate dispensing staff get to go to work and have significantly less ‘behind the scenes’ tasks to do in the same day compared to independent dispensing staff, and now we’re seeing that gap closing with this integration,” she adds.

“These benefits mean that when we find the need for new ranges in the future, we would be assessing if we can fill a market gap from the ProAccounts supplier network prior to looking at other suppliers, simply due to how easy and streamlined it is.”

Mr. Simon Hobson, practice principle and manager at Young Eyes Optometrists, says time to enter stock has been cut down to about a tenth of the time.

“I’ve been impressed by the speed of the import and the accuracy of the data – our reports of stock on the shelf are much more accurate – re-orders are much quicker to place,” he says.

Simon Hobson, of Young Eyes Optometrists, says the time to enter stock has been cut down to about a tenth.

Elsewhere, at Gulf & Ranges Optometrists in Port Augusta, South Australia, optical assistant Ms Taneil Nigro says, given the current climate, efficiencies brought about by ProAccounts have allowed the practice to still function in the case of reduced staff capacity due to illness. It also allows the practice to teach new staff members more efficiently because they can grasp the new stock arrival process quicker.

“What impressed us is the accuracy of pricing transferred from the e-invoice into Optomate Touch. We no longer spend an excessive amount of time ensuring our pricing/discounts are all up to date to balance the total amount. Sometimes a small error would take a long time to rectify as we needed to go through each line item to find and amend,” she says.

“The other impressive feature is the integrated ProSupply link within the spectacle job order. This allows us to stay within Optomate Touch to order a frame and not have multiple windows open, making the process much more streamlined.”

New twist on national conference

The first major showing of ProAccounts integration with Optomate Touch will be at ProVision’s biennial national conference Friday 21 to Sunday 23 October. For the first time in its 30-year history, the organization is inviting non-ProVision optometrists at the Pullman Melbourne, Albert Park.

Tony Jones

ProVision business systems manager Mr. Andrew Parker says there will be practice management system user groups that will include a demonstration of the ProAccounts-Optomate Touch system.

“There may be some non-ProVision optometrists out there who have Optomate Touch and think ‘I really need access to this technology to create efficiencies in my practice’. Because we’re opening the conference to non-members, they can visit on that Friday for a chat and demonstration of how the software works,” Parker explains.

Acting ProVision CEO Mr. Tony Jones says there’s also been strong uptake among ProVision practice owners to bring along new potential members (inviting one non-member entitles them to 50% off the conference fee, two and they can enter for free).

“The conference is our showcase event and I want to ensure the independent community knows what ProVision is about and the high quality services we can offer,” he says, noting that it’s also a more subtle way for non-members to inquire about the network .

“Importantly, after the last few years, it’s a great opportunity to network with peers and industry leaders at our many social events including coffee catchups, conference welcome event, trade show, awards dinner and afterparty. And students can come and understand why there’s such a strong future for independent optometry.”

Jones is also excited by the world class speaker line-up for the conference. ProVision has secured Australian of the Year Mr Dylan Alcott AO (The art of taking risks to achieve your goals), business growth thought leader Mr Keith Abraham (Creating the business of your dreams), marketing expert Ms Katrina McCarter (Gen Y & Z: Understanding our consumers of tomorrow), motivational speaker Ms Amanda Gore (The power of joy), and Australian futurist Mr Steve Sammartino (Stand up for your future).

In addition, attendees can subscribe to Practice Management System User Group Workshops, and select from three categories including: future planning, digital marketing and consumer behavior changes. Delegates can also engage with ProVision’s 28 supplier partners under one roof at the conference’s trade show showcasing the latest product ranges and offers. To register, visit:

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