Jennifer Stewart, OD, and Mark Feder, OD, truly love optometry. They love going to work each day, and consider their patients family. “We want every patient to feel as though they were being taken care of by family,” says Dr. Stewart. “That every question was answered, every staff member treated them with respect. Every patient walks out knowing what happened and what the expectations are.” The culture at Norwalk Eye Care—founded in 1985—is built around that feeling. And through this culture, the practice aims to deliver top-notch, warm, friendly service with high-tech diagnostics.
Technology plays a critical role at Norwalk Eye Care. They recently moved to a brand new, 3,400 sq. ft. space, and by doing so, now have the perfect setup: five exam lanes, double the optical space and room for equipment that they know they need in order to deliver top notch patient care both now and in the future. Thanks to this technology and a passion for the newest innovation in contact lens care, Norwalk Eye Care has fit 85% of their contact lens patients in 1-day contact lenses.
Tapping into each doctor’s individual passion is also a key element of Norwalk Eye Care’s success. Last year, Dr. Stewart followed her passion and used her expertise in sports vision to establish Performance 20/20 in Stamford, Conn., one of the only standalone sports and performance vision practices in the country. She regularly consults with optometrists and practice owners about bringing these tools to their practices.
As a team, the doctors of Norwalk Eye Care strive to see the "big picture" with every patient and make themselves an integral part of their total health care plan. “We elevate ourselves to be part of their overall team and not ‘just their eye doctor’,” explains Dr. Stewart. “We try to educate patients about what we are capable of doing.” Dr. Feder agrees. “My approach to both managing a practice and leading our patient care is guided by a quote from Maya Angelou,” says Dr. Feder. “People will forget what you said; People will forget what you did; But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Staff education is an important part of providing an excellent patient experience as well, and the doctors of Norwalk Eye Care provide that education to their staff in many forms. Be it "lunch and learns" with contact lens or pharmaceutical reps, continuing education, webinars, article printouts or other learning opportunities, the staff at Norwalk Eye Care is encouraged to continue to learn and improve all the time. “We are always happy when someone wants to learn and further their education so we support that and help however we can. Everyone has a place in making the patient experience a great one. We give them the responsibility to make decisions. We think of them as part of a family, and they feel that way, too.”
When faced with the challenges of modern healthcare delivery, Dr. Stewart believes in looking at those challenges as an opportunity to grow. “Challenges have always been there and they will always be there. Look at it and ask yourself, ‘What can I do about it?’” she says. “'What changes can I make in my practice?’ Be flexible. If you’re flexible, the challenges make you more creative to keep adapting and growing.”
Innovation, leadership, flexibility and a passion for every aspect of eye care come together in Norwalk Eye Care, making it one of the 2018 Best Practices Honorees.