Achieving Improved Ophthalmic Business Efficiency

by | Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

Boosting productivity within the workplace is something that most industry experts obsess over. However, when you extend that matter to involve the wellbeing and health of society, accessing superior efficiency becomes more than just a desire - it's crucial. On the most hectic afternoons in a clinic or office, every practice owner and manager begins to bemoan the unpredictable human factors capable of destroying the most competent flow of patients.

Increasing the efficiency of a practice is complex, and there aren't any easy answers - but it seems that potential declines in the workforce are appearing at the same time as population needs begin to increase. In other words, ophthalmic professionals are going to need to take advantage of the Medicare incentives to perform more procedures outside of hospitals in order to stay afloat. However, this means taking care of a larger volume of patients, while offering the same degree of professionalism and skill.

With the right processes, equipment, and experience, ophthalmic offices could be running more economically than ever. The following suggestions should provide a starting point for your business.

1. Examine Your Current Process

Before you start making changes to the way that your office runs, you'll need to establish a better understanding of your current practices. Most productivity problems trace back to process problems, and the better you are at managing your schedule - from checking in patients to making referrals, the better the outcome will be. Drawing a flow map of the process you use now can be a powerful tool in understanding areas that need work.

2. Appreciate Time Management

Once you have your plan for each day established, you'll need to start by getting your patients through the door. Recall protocols and appointment reminders can be essential, as missed appointments plague many practices. After your patients have arrived, ensure that you have a system available for checking them in and out - particularly if the staff at your front desk are responsible for numerous tasks, such as collecting pay, scheduling patient appointments, and answering phones.

Finally, understand how to delegate tasks. Ask yourself, of the various patients that moved through your office last week, what percentage needed to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist. You may find that a significant portion could be delegated to technical staff, for tasks such as:

  • History taking
  • Dilation decision
  • Administration of drops
  • Routine patient education
  • Intra-ocular pressure checks

Ensuring that each task goes to the right staff member will open up time for each expert to spend essential time with patients that need them the most.

3. Hire Only the Best Team

Efficiency and excellence are difficult to achieve if you don't have the right team on board. Having a loyal, dedicated, and trained staff can improve not only efficiency, but also profitability and quality. This also makes recruiting and keeping experts easier. A dedicated team will always work better than one less involved in their work. If your medical professionals are working with a team of experienced staff on a regular basis, it can help to boost their confidence level, and therefore their productivity. What's more, managing the same team allows each member to learn how each other works, helping to move cases along like clockwork.

However, it's important to remember that every member within that team should be working to improve the efficiency of their operation. This means that nurses and techs shouldn't just be working according to the medical professionals - professionals should be making efforts to ensure everything runs smoothly.

4. Let Machines Do the Work Where Possible

Perhaps one of the most significant problems that ophthalmic offices have is that in the midst of patient-organization chaos, they forget how to make use of the tools that they already own. Ensuring that your staff can make the most of the technological equipment throughout your office can be essential in boosting efficiency. This can include technology like photocopiers, computerized patient information, and computer-generator bills. Although there are some tasks in the health industry that demand the use of trained professionals - technical innovations are making it easier than ever to manage administration aspects in a quick and automated fashion.

Optimizing the Work Force

Optimizing the workforce and improving efficiency throughout the office is a complex matter - the solutions vary according to the different aspects of your individual practice. Fortunately, looking at your processes, embracing time management, and hiring the right staff can all contribute to a more productive system.

What do you find to be the most useful tools in improving efficiency throughout your office? Do you think there are ways your process could be enhanced? 

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