Book Review: 201 Secrets of a High-Performance Optometric Practice, by Bob Levoy [i]

By Mayur Desai, O.D.

Whether you are starting a new practice as a recent graduate in optometry or are an established practitioner, successful practice management can seem overwhelming. This book can make managing your practice much easier.

Practice management, or practice leadership, is about being the chief executive officer (CEO) of your practice. Unfortunately, it is not a subject we learn much about in most optometry programs, and until you have some experience (or unless you have a degree in business administration), it may be difficult to appreciate its importance. But having a firm grip on the knowledge and best practices around this topic will help you avoid costly mistakes.

Bob Levoy, a former corporate executive, is an internationally acclaimed seminar speaker on practice management and human resources issues. His book provides useful strategies, tips, anecdotes, quotes and caveats from some of optometry’s leading practitioners and other business leaders. The book is simply written, succinct and well organized so that it can be used as a reference. Topics include: competitive advantage/customer service, strategic planning, sales strategy, networking, communication, patient perception and loyalty, fees, human resources management, and stress management.

Each ‘secret’ is presented in the form of straightforward advice, much of it substantiated with ‘Success Files’, which offer quotes and anecdotes from optometrists, other healthcare providers, accountants, lawyers or business professionals. ‘Reality Checks’ or ‘Hard-Learned Lessons’ are caveats to consider when implementing the advice and provide balance and credibility. For example:

#17: An appealing up-to-date office:
What kind of image does your office convey, and is it congruent with the level of professionalism you want to project and the quality of care you provide?

Hard-Learned Lesson: Every seven years, you need to either redecorate or move. If you don’t notice the sameness, your patients will.

Through conversations with many optometrists and business owners over the past 15 years, it has become clear to me that human resources management is the number one challenge in any business. Levoy devotes three chapters to this topic, which is clearly one of his strengths. The detailed advice, checklists and templates on interview questions (e.g. ask behaviour-based questions), creating job descriptions (e.g. have written job descriptions), performance management (e.g. conduct performance reviews) and employee surveys (e.g. upward communication) are helpful.

The bibliographies at the end of each chapter are also useful, and include a diverse range of publications, including books and periodicals on optometry, healthcare and general business topics.

Levoy also covers the subject of developing a niche practice, such as low vision services or vision therapy. Here, it would have been beneficial to understand if there are potential obstacles to be considered or best practices for setup that could be implemented. I found this to be the only weak area of an otherwise helpful book.

In conclusion, 201 Secrets of a High-Performance Optometric Practice is an excellent practice management resource that introduces the reader to a number of proven strategies currently being used in successful healthcare practices and Fortune 500 companies. The book is easy to navigate. The templates and checklists are very helpful tools for evaluating human resources management, current practice structure and policies. The diverse bibliography directs the reader or study group to further research and encourages them to discuss areas of interest. This book is highly recommended to optometry students and practicing optometrists of any tenure, and could easily serve as the foundation for a practice management course.

201 Secrets of a High-Performance Optometric Practice, by Bob Levoy is available at:



[i] Published by Elsevier, August 2011, 252 Pages.