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Clinic Spotlight: The Family Eye Care Clinics

April 29, 2022

Embracing The Changing Landscape of Optometry

If ever you find yourself in Timmins, or the “City With a Heart of Gold,” you’ll want to stop by the Family Eye Care clinics, which are nestled in the quaint Northern Ontario communities of both Timmins and Iroquois Falls. With a population of 42,000 in Timmins and 4,500 in Iroquois Falls, the Family Eye Care clinics are an integral part of their communities. Always evolving, they’ve recently become leaders in dry eye treatments in their communities, as Dr. Karine Briand and her practices have fully embraced the changing landscape of optometry.

Dr. Karine Briand, owner of both locations, is also a mom of three young children and married to a full-time farmer. Currently in her 12th year of practice, she graduated from the University of Waterloo as an optometrist in 2010. Returning to Timmins with a clear vision for her career, Dr. Briand knew that her goal was to run her own practice. She teamed up with then owner Dr. Simpson to devise a five-year plan to become sole owner of both practices.

After making the transition to ownership in 2016, Dr. Briand embraced change but also continued with what she felt was working well for the clinics, for instance the maintaining of OSI membership. Now, as OSI’s newest board member, Dr. Briand feels that a group supporting independent optometry like OSI is really helpful when you buy a practice, citing mentorship as a great example of the support that is offered. She also knows that she can count on hundreds of colleagues for practice management advice through the members’ Forum. 

“Your OSI regional account manager can help with questions, and OSI also offers training that can be extremely beneficial when you own a practice.”

– Dr. Karine Briand

Dr. Briand has had the opportunity to take advantage of OSI’s practice energizers, such as the Leadership and Management program which she found incredibly helpful.

After acquiring her clinics, Dr. Briand focused on adopting electronic medical record software. Doing her due diligence and researching all her options, she ultimately decided to adopt the Optosys Solution. The driving force behind her decision was the offer of in-office implementation and training. The transition to an EMR was much easier thanks to having someone onsite to teach the staff how to use it, who was there for the first day of seeing patients and helped with any issues that arose. Shifting from paper to an EMR, the team really appreciated having in-person training to make the transition easier. 

Since embracing Optosys, she has enjoyed the plethora of modules it has to offer. She particularly enjoys the improved communication between the two locations. There was a lot of room for error with the paper method. Now, with one software, staff has access to all of the information. Patients can go from one office to the other with that continuous care and continuous knowledge. 


Work-Life Balance is Key

Having a strong work-life balance for her entire team is something Dr. Briand strives for. For herself, she designates one day a week as an admin day. That’s when she completes the business to-do list and tasks, leaving the rest of the week available to see her patients. Adopting this habit has helped to take these tasks away from her evenings and weekends, leaving her more time to achieve the balance that works for her.

Dr. Briand has also established a weekly staff meeting for the clinic in Timmins and a monthly staff meeting in Iroquois Falls, along with a regular social staff meeting as well. Perhaps the most unique practice she’s put in place is a rotating paid day off for her staff every few weeks or so. The entire team rallies together to ensure appropriate coverage when a staff member is off because they appreciate the value in this, as it allows them to recharge their batteries. 

Dr. Briand's Final Words of Advice

Having been a new optometrist who wanted to own a clinic, here is some advice Dr. Briand offers to those considering practice ownership:

  • Buy up north or outside of urban centres. There are tons of opportunities up north, so if you are considering owning a practice, explore all of your options.
  • Find a mentor – someone who you can bounce ideas off of and talk to, to ensure you're educated about all of your options.
  • When looking for an associate or a new partner, always think ahead and be vocal about your posting. Sign up for Interview Day at Waterloo, put ads out there and put effort into attracting new talent.

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