Optometric Management Tip # 158   -   Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Quiet on the subject of delegation?

I generally receive quite a bit of email from readers, which is great, but I didnít receive any this past week on the subject of delegation. Iíve seen this silence before on delegation, but Iím not sure why. My theory is that optometrists who already delegate are happy with it and those who donít delegate too much either canít or donít want to. Itís hard to change anyoneís mind on the concept. But that wonít stop me from making my case. I think ODs in the first group would likely still benefit from taking a step up on the delegation scale, and the latter group could make some changes in their procedures and realize huge benefits.

Usual excuses for not delegating

I think most of the reasons optometrists cite for not wanting to delegate more are listed below. Examine your philosophy and see if you agree with any of the following sentiments. By the way, I believe all of the following are myths. Take a step up on the delegation scale

I suggested an assignment last week, which was to list all the tasks that your practice currently delegates to non-doctor staff members, and to make a second list of the tasks that could be delegated. It is up to you to prioritize the ďcouldĒ list, with an eye on ease of implementation and financial return. Then hold a staff meeting and discuss the concept. Donít present a change in procedures as an edict, but rather let staff participate in the plan. They often see things that doctors donít. Most staff members welcome the idea of a growth opportunity in their career, and optometric practices often lose good staffers by not fostering growth.

Here are just a few tasks that might stimulate you to take a step up on the scale. Delegation is one of the most important keys for success, because it dramatically raises productivity, and does not have to reduce quality. Be careful if your plan is to build a practice that is totally dependent on yourselfÖ you might just get it.


Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management