What is a franchise?

A franchise is a business whereby the owner licenses its operations, along with its products, branding, and knowledge, in exchange for a franchise fee. The franchisor is the business that grants licenses to franchisees. Bellasee is an ophthalmic franchisor, and the first of its kind. Dr. Heather Skeens created Bellasee based on her nearly 20 years of experience in the field of ophthalmology. Bellasee embodies the concepts of patient-centered care, and physician work-life balance, while providing the franchisee access to proven management systems. A number of studies have demonstrated that people fear loss of eyesight only second to death.(1,2) The thoughts of losing one’s vision and/or needing to undergo an eye surgery bring about stress and anxiety for the majority of eye patients.(3) Typical ophthalmic offices are cold and sterile. Bright white walls and fluorescent lighting increase anxiety and fears,(4) while warmer colors lower anxiety and stress levels.(5) Stress and anxiety have been linked to delayed wound healing in post-operative patients.(6) Bellasee’s design provides luxury eyecare in a spa-like environment, offering a warm and relaxing atmosphere for patient care. Private practice ophthalmologists are encountering new questions with respect to practice management. While the acquisition of ophthalmology practices by private equity has become a recent trend, it is not the first time the profession has gone through these types of acquisitions.(7) In the 1990s, physician practice management companies raised billions of dollars to invest in physician practices. The model collapsed within a few years for a variety of reasons.(7) The question that begs to be answered in today’s world of acquisitions and mergers, is where do these things leave the patients and the physicians treating them? Laws against the Corporate Practice of Medicine exist to protect patient care from being governed by individuals with pure financial gains in mind, and having no licensed medical degrees. Doctors go into private practice for a number of reasons, one of which being to have control over their working environment. Handing control of their businesses back to corporations makes the physicians yet again employees of a system. These same types of bureaucracies exist in hospitals and academic institutions; the places many private practitioners have chosen to avoid for just this reason. Bellasee hands the practice decision making back to the physician, while providing a system that addresses the management headaches prospective franchisees wish to avoid. While franchisees purchase the licenses to use Bellasee’s logos, billing model, payer negotiations, and electronic health record system, and are given direction with respect to human resources, accounting, information technology, and others, the franchisee is in charge of his/her business. Bellasee has a unique system of scheduling and efficiency which allows the ophthalmologist to see and treat patients on his/her own time, allowing the physician to maintain a work-life balance. As the franchise system grows, franchisees work within a network of like-minded franchisees, allowing each to be in business for themselves, but not by themselves. Physician burn-out is at an all time high.(8,9) Physicians, especially those in the middle of their careers, have families and personal needs. Today, as a post-pandemic society, we are recognizing more and more the importance of taking care of ourselves and of our health. Long gone are the days where physicians spend their entire lives and careers devoting themselves solely to helping others, while neglecting their own personal health. We are recognizing the importance of exercise and diet and nutrition to our longevity now more than ever. We are recognizing the importance of our families. Why should we have to choose between a successful career of being able to help others, and our own families and ourselves? Bellasee’s model allows physicians the luxury of both. We can care for our patients and maintain ourselves; and this is the beauty of the Bellasee model. References:
  1. De Leo, Diego, Hickey, Portia A., Meneghel, Gaia, Cantor, Christopher. (1999). Blindness, Fear of Sight Loss, and Suicide. Psychosomatics 40(4). 339-344. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0033318299712296
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vision Loss: A Public Health Problem. Saaddine, Venkat Narayan & Vinicor 2003, https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basic_information/vision_loss.htm
  3. Obuchowska, Iwona, and Konopinska, Joanna. (2021). Fear and Anxiety Associated with Cataract Surgery Under Local Anesthesia in Adults: A Systematic Review. Psychol Res Behav Manag 14. 781-793. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8219311/
  4. Khorshid, Raghad, Almadani, Sakhaa, Al shehri, Amjad, Abduljawad, Lama, Alsaleh, Ahmad. (2021). Cureus 13(2). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7978391/
  5. Shahidi, Reza, et. al. (2021). Effect of warm/cool white lights on visual perception and mood in warm/cool color environments. EXCLI J 20. 1379-1393. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8481791/
  6. Christian, Lisa, et al. (2006). Stress and Wound Healing. Neuroimmunomodulation 13(5-6). 337-346. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792763/
  7. Baker-Schena, Lori. (2019). Private Equity and Ophthalmology. EyeNet Magazine. https://www.aao.org/eyenet/article/private-equity-and-ophthalmology#1990s
  8. American Medical Association. Pandemic pushes U.S. doctor burnout to all-time high of 63%. Berg, Sara 2022, https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/physician-health/pandemic-pushes-us-doctor-burnout-all-time-high-63
  9. Tertel, Zack. (2022). Ophthalmology Management August. 15. https://digital.ophthalmologymanagement.com/publication/?m=53495&i=753416&p=1&ver=html5



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