For the past 2 weeks, we’ve been discussing Collections Per Hour and how different members of your team can contribute to this critical KPI. In part 3 of this series, we’ll look at how ODs can improve collections per hour.
While patients may spend more time with the rest of your staff than they do with the you, they value their time spent with the doctor the most. Although you certainly need to review the history, confirm the reason for the visit, and perform an examination, the patient is most interested in your recommendations. Case presentation is the best opportunity in each patient visit to benefit the patient and the business by ordering any necessary testing or treatment, writing prescriptions and recommending products.
Providers can make a major impact on your revenue by becoming as efficient and effective as possible during this critical portion of each patient encounter.
Here are some tried and true methods I’ve found for improving provider efficiency
- Work closely with your techs to sharpen their skills so that your time spent with the patient is not wasted on mistakes or omissions in the patient record.
- Use a scribe. The more eye contact you have with the patient and the less you type, the better the patient experience. This also allows you to see more patients per hour, which can easily pay the scribe’s salary in a busy practice.
- Pre-dilate your older patients. Save time by eliminating backtracking in your clinic flow whenever possible. Have your techs instill Paremyd during pre-test for routine examinations on established patients who have little or no accommodation. As long as you stay on schedule, the drop will not affect the results of your refraction and the dilation will be sufficient by the time you do the fundus exam. This benefits the patient as well since they spend less time in your office.
- Network as many of your instruments as possible. Patients are impressed (and more likely to comply with treatment plans!) when test results are displayed on monitors during your case presentation, rather than waiting for a call from you later or waiting for their next visit with you. Once again, this makes more efficient use of OD hours.
- Regardless of the patient’s ocular health status, don’t forget to discuss their optical needs as well. Write multiple spectacle prescriptions when indicated to meet the patient’s needs and discuss each with the patient. Include specific recommendations for lens add-ons, like AR, blue light protection, or polarized sun lenses. Communicate with your optician – verbally, in writing, or via your scribe – about your discussion with the patient. This allows your optician to reinforce your recommendations rather than trying to sell options, and can really boost your optical sales.
- Last but not least, schedule efficiently. Begin each morning and each afternoon with a couple of short follow-ups and a comprehensive exam all scheduled at the same time. The follow-ups should take very little tech time and the OD can be busy seeing the follow-ups right away rather than waiting for the first comprehensive exam to be worked up. Afterward, keep all of your comprehensive exams in a block together before ending each half day with more follow-ups. Patient flow is more efficient when the rhythm of the appointments is consistent rather than mixed appointment types and lengths.
Pro Tip: Consider a dedicated slot for patients with semi-urgent needs at the end of each morning rather than interrupting the scheduled flow or adding them to the end of the day.