Optometric Management Tip # 327   -   Wednesday, May 07, 2008
The Exam Room as a Pretest Room

Pretesting is widely utilized in eye care and its popularity is understandable because office efficiency is greatly increased. Delegating most of the data collection during a comprehensive eye exam allows the doctor to focus on higher-level tasks like ocular health assessment and patient consultation. While pretesting is performed to some degree in most practices, there is a huge range of techniques and procedures. In the interest of pursuing more of a good thing, if your pretesting process is limited to one area, let's consider expanding it to the exam room.

The floor plan

The approach I like best uses one or more pretest rooms, a separate retinal imaging room and at least two exam rooms per doctor. In this arrangement, the pretest room is used to preinstall 2.5% phenylephrine, take autorefraction and autokeratometry readings, measure intraocular pressure with a non-contact tonometer and screen the visual fields with a small autoperimeter. If the patient has eyeglasses not made by our office, lensometry is performed in this room during the field screening.

Since most patients will go through the pretest room, we make an effort to avoid a bottleneck by minimizing the activities performed there and moving into any available exam room as soon as possible. Multiple exam rooms allow a tech to work in one room while the doctor works in another. Ideally, there will always be a patient waiting for the doctor (but not too long of a wait!) and the doc simply moves between two (or three or four) exam rooms.

The tech in the exam room

Here are some pretesting activities to conduct in the exam room.

Refining and increasing your pretesting routine pays big dividends in patient flow and efficiency.

Best wishes for continued success,

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