By Jim McGrann, Chairman and CEO of Healthy Eyes Advantage

This issue of Solutions is devoted to the important topic of engagement, which is essential to today’s business success. Frequent quality interaction with patients and with peers, professional organizations, vendors and other businesses is the best way to remain current on evolving industry norms and, importantly, to stay ahead of the curve on disruptive trends. Healthy Eyes Advantage (HEA) is committed to effective engagement throughout the eye care industry so that we can support our members in driving their business success.

Here are four key recommendations to engage and stay engaged with colleagues:

Professional Organizations

A thriving and robust structure of professional organizations exists through which independent eye care professionals (IECPs) can gain peer-to-peer networking, education, legislative updates and more. Local, state, regional and national opportunities are available to any IECP who wishes to take an active role in shaping the profession.

HEA is a proud sponsor of many eye care professional organizations, both financially and through active engagement with their leadership. This is such an important area of collaboration for HEA that we recently expanded our professional relations team, bringing on James Kirchner, OD, in order to devote more attention to nurturing our relationships with these important groups.

Community/Networking Events

My personal philosophy is that there’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction with colleagues, including both experienced IECP veterans and industry players who are new to the scene, introducing game-changing concepts and learnings. The eye care industry calendar is chock full of many different events ranging from small dinners to large, multiday gatherings.

The HEA team attends numerous events each year, and we always come away energized and with new ideas for industry collaboration on how we can better serve our valued HEA members. Click on our events calendar here.

Social Media

Just as social media is a great way to engage your patients year round, it also provides a variety of channels that help the industry stay connected on a day-to-day basis. News of product launches, new treatment approaches and other industry happenings are always just a click or a swipe away. Monitoring social media is also a good way to see what eyewear styles are trending, which can help you plan your patient-related social media posts. HEA maintains an active social presence, and if you aren’t already following us on social media, I encourage you to take a moment to do so.

Online Resources

Online resources work hand in hand with social media to provide information that is easily accessed. Whereas most social media platforms cater to short-form content, websites facilitate sharing of more detailed information. Professional organizations, academic institutions, governmental agencies and industry suppliers all offer a wealth of information — clinical and product-related — on their websites. Most refresh their content on a regular basis so it’s worth checking back often. HEA has been working over the past few months to expand our online presence, and our website now includes more information about our programs, our strategic partners and video testimonials from HEA members. Later this year, we’ll be introducing a new member portal for improved access to HEA account information. Visit hea2020.com often to learn what’s new.

In summary, being an engaged member of the eye care industry is important for all of us, no matter what area of the industry or career stage we are in. Luckily, opportunities for engagement are all around us.