Optometric Management Tip # 200   -   Wednesday, November 16, 2005
The Best of the Tips

Hey Ė this is tip #200! That is a lot of tips! Iím still enjoying writing each weekly article and I want to thank you, the reader, for your interest over the years. I hear from many of you via email or in person at conferences and itís very gratifying to me to know that some of these tips have helped you with the management of your practice. Because our profession and our practices are constantly changing, there are always plenty of new ideas to write about.

I thought I would use this milestone to take a look back and select what I think were the top 10 tips over the past four years. In case you arenít aware, Optometric Management maintains an archive of all past tips at its website, www.optometric.com. If any of these top 10 titles strike an interest for you, the archive is available for you to retrieve the original article.

I selected these tips based on what I feel are the most important aspects of building a successful practice or on the positive response it garnered from readers. I have inserted a comment or an update with each one.
  1. Tip #17 - Are You Monitoring Patient Satisfaction? Customer service and patient loyalty are the cornerstones of practice building. Donít just survey patients occasionally Ė do it constantly. Iíve revised my patient response card slightly as shown here:

    Gailmard Eye Center
    Office Evaluation Card

    We would appreciate your assistance in completing the following
    questions to help us better serve your eye care needs.

    Was our staff courteous and helpful? Yes No
    Were you seen in a timely manner? Yes No
    Was your examination thorough? Yes No
    Were you satisfied with the explanation of your visual conditions and treatment options Yes No
    If fit with contact lenses or glasses, did the service and quality meet your expectations? Yes No
    Would you refer a friend to our office for eye care? Yes No
    Why?† _______________________________________________________________
    How would you rate your overall satisfaction with our office? (10=excellent; 1=poor) ______
    What was the most memorable thing that happened at our office?

    Other comments:

    Name (optional) ____________________________________†††††† Date___________


  2. Tip #67 - Opened Boxes of Contact Lenses? This tip received a lot of email and I think I made my local printer happy since many doctors asked for the information on my source. We still use the stickers described and find it saves a lot of headaches.

  3. Tip #113 - Technicians as Scribes. This clinical procedure is high level delegation and once you get used to it, you will be spoiled for life. It is puzzling why chairside assisting is pretty common in ophthalmology, yet still rare in optometry.

  4. Tip # 139 Ė Want to Take Your Practice to the Next Level? Consider Hiring an Associate. Once your practice is highly delegated and efficient, and if youíre still fortunate enough to be busy and booked ahead, employing another optometrist offers a huge boost in production and revenue.

  5. Tip # 146 Ė Making In-Office Collections a Snap. Discussing the exam fee, insurance plans and payment policies over the phone when each appointment is scheduled sets the stage for a great patient visit with no surprises. If your exam fees are so complicated and varied that your staff canít easily quote them, that could be a turn-off to patients.

  6. Tip #147 Ė Many Reasons for Exam Efficiency. Here are six not-so-well-known reasons why changing your clinical operations can be an effective part of your success plan.

  7. Tip # 158 Ė Quiet on the Subject of Delegation? Iíve written many tips on various aspects of delegation because itís so important to success. Yet, it seems like doctors either embrace the concept or shun it, and itís hard to change habits. We can all take a step up on the delegation scale.

  8. Tip # 160 Ė Staff Turnover and Training. Staff management is possibly the biggest challenge faced by doctors in practice administration. Rather than avoiding the task, itís best to study it, devote more time to it, and become good at it. The topic is too large for any one article, but this tip is a good overview.

  9. Tip #176 Ė Avoiding Optometric Burnout. Itís easy to get in a rut and just continue to do the same old thing in practice and in life. Here are some innovative ideas for breaking out of the routine and making things happen. The result is enthusiasm thatís contagious to your staff and your patients.

  10. Tip #185 Ė Four Trends that Concern Me. Itís surprising how quickly our profession has adopted the standard of charging a higher fee for eye exams that have a medical diagnosis or complaint, compared to a routine exam. Proponents feel that the decision making is higher, and of course, we donít want to leave money on the table when it comes to billing and codingÖ but my point is that the routine exam is worth much more than we are charging. Iím not advocating lowering the medical exam fee, I recommend raising the routine exam. I do the same tests and use my brain in the same way in a comprehensive exam whether the patient has symptoms or not. This is only one of a few trends that are controversial.
Thanks for your ongoing loyal readership. More to come next week!

Best wishes for continued success,

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