Collaboration is at the basis of the health industry, where doctors, nurses, and assistants must constantly collaborate to offer the best care to patients. The optometry and eye care industries are no strangers to this need for collaboration to deliver care excellence. In recent years, eye care and health have increasingly become a concern in the digitalized world. Globally, the number of vision-related complications affecting people’s health results in a demand for quality and innovative optometric solutions.
One organization transcends the optometric industry through its doctor-owned, doctor-led approach to serving patients’ needs with a personalized touch and that organization is FYidoctors. Their clinics incorporate enhanced technology solutions that are safely coordinated by many doctors to guarantee patients receive high quality eye care and products.
Visionary and open-minded CEO and Chair, Dr. Alan Ulsifer, not only leads the organization, but journeys alongside his dedicated team. He believes cooperation is the key to providing modern eye care that enhances lives while harvesting industry gains.
Let’s dive into FYidoctors’ journey towards creating a new vision!
The Strings of Inspiration
For Dr. Ulsifer, it was clear at the formation of FYidoctors, that consolidation was going to be a reality in the future, however, he did not believe that this was always a good thing for the profession or patient care.
“The premise of FYidoctors was that if consolidation was inevitable, why could it not be done by a bunch of doctors? Joining forces would allow the optometry profession to reap the economic benefits and use those to invest back into the profession,” shares Dr. Ulsifer.
This strategy has allowed FYidoctors to make decisions primarily based on patient care and continually increase the level of care as they have grown. Working together has elevated the standards of care for their patients and protected what is important to their doctors, which is practicing to the best of their abilities and with the best technology but on their terms. The organization has imbibed this approach to achieve its goals and chart its growth curve upwards.
The Mission of the Organization
Dr. Ulsifer says, “Our mission at FYidoctors is Enhancing Lives. We help doctors focus on patients by focusing on everything else.”
The organization currently has over 300 Canadian eye care clinics and recently expanded into California, where they have 10 locations.
Being doctor-owned and doctor-led, FYidoctors is a team of leaders, bringing the best in technology and business management to an international network of optometrists. FYidoctors empowers their doctors to provide exceptional eye care, which the team focuses on integrating with upcoming technological solutions in the eye care field.
Including Technology for Dynamic Needs
Dr. Ulsifer believes that they are very lucky in this profession as technology and new treatment modalities continue to expand their ability to care for patients.
He says, “Many think that we should embrace technology at the expense of our product offerings. I believe that optometrists possess unique expertise in both patient care and product, to the extent that they can offer unique solutions for individuals, unlike any other provider. Embracing technology will build our practice and our pride in how we serve the community.”
Establishing Quality in Eye Care Provision
The organization has always prioritized providing quality eye care and eyewear. Elaborating on this, Dr. Ulsifer says, “Our 45,000 square foot, state-of-the-art ophthalmic laboratory is located in Delta, British Columbia, Canada, and is where manufacturing occurs.”
FYidoctors is a fully vertically integrated company, and its Delta Lab is the most technologically advanced optical laboratory in North America. Their choice to house all their manufacturing allows them to be highly efficient on labor and shipping costs while successfully executing an optimized supply chain for low turnaround times. Since 2019, FYidoctors has invested
CAD 10 million in technology and expansion of the Delta Ophthalmic Laboratory.
The Leader’s Blooming
Dr. Ulsifer’s journey began at the University of Waterloo, where he graduated in 1990 as an optometrist. He received several awards in clinical achievement, including the Ontario Association of Optometrists and Excellence in Patient Management.
A bit later into his career, Dr. Ulsifer became one of the founders and partners of Northern Vision Centre in Grande Prairie, Alberta. It became one of Canada’s largest independent optometric practices, and in 2008 Dr. Ulsifer oversaw the creation of FYidoctors.
Dr. Ulsifer was awarded the Ernst and Young Emerging Entrepreneur Award for Western Canada in 2008 and the Top Canadian Entrepreneur Award in 2012. He has served on many boards over the years and has an ICD.d designation.
He currently serves as the CEO & Chair of FYidoctors, and over many years has been involved with various not-for-profit organizations, including Rotary, Optometry Giving Sight, Alberta Optometric Association, Freestyle Ski Association, and the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce.
His inspiring journey is a guide to many budding entrepreneurs who wish to deliver excellent care in a similar healthcare niche.
Advice to Young Minds
Despite all the disruption and change, optometry is an amazing profession where one can have a major impact on people’s lives.
Guiding aspiring young entrants in this field, Dr. Ulsifer advises, “If you provide a great experience and truly care for your patients, those patients will tell other people. Building a foundation of trust and a true relationship will always beat the technology and treatment modalities that continue to appear in our industry.”
As actions speak louder than words and to take forward it’s leader’s advice, the organization plans to expand its current operations and strive to further elevate the patient experience.
Scaling Heights in 2022 and Beyond
FYidoctors is aiming to grow to over 1,500 doctors and over 700 clinics in Canada and the USA. They are striving to employ over 8,000 team members and continue to implement innovative solutions to provide access to more remote communities that need access to eye care.
Talking about the organization’s goal further, Dr. Ulsifer says, “We also plan to continue growing our other banners of FYihealth group, which include retail optical and medical aesthetics business units.”
Today, the organization’s success is all possible because of its dedicated team, which is led by its dynamic leader – Dr. Alan Ulsifer.
Table of Recognitions
FYidoctors has earned several notable appreciations, a few of them are as follows:
- For the third year in a row (2020, 2021, 2022), FYidoctors has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies.
- In 2021, FYidoctors was recognized as one of the Top 50 Most Engaged Workplaces in Canada.
- For the first time, and in three different provinces, their clinics in Halifax, Toronto, and Vancouver, achieved a perfect 500 score on their Infinity Index (an index that considers several key metrics to measure the impact we have on those we serve, including Net Promoter Score, conversion ratio, and Google reviews).
- In 2018, FYidoctors invested CAD$800,000 to launch the FYidoctors Simulation lab at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, the first of its kind in Canada; and
- In 2021 FYidoctors raised CAD$780,000 to help develop the Waterloo Eye Institute.
- In 2021, FYidoctors won the Canadian HR Award for “Most Innovative Use of HR Technology.”