Optometric Management Tip # 92   -   Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Thoughts on bringing in an associate

Many of my management tips focus on ways to make a practice busier, but what if your practice is already very busy... how do you keep growing? Let's also suppose that the practice is already delegating many clinical, optical and administrative procedures to qualified staff members. The practice is at capacity and booked a couple weeks in advance.

First and foremost, let's acknowledge that this is a wonderful problem to have!

There are many ways to manage a practice at full capacity, such as possibly raising fees and reducing the participation with discounted managed care plans. But one of the first thoughts I have when I see a practice that is booked solid is to bring in an associate optometrist. When you think about it, an appointment schedule that is booked well in advance is like cash that is continuously sitting out in the future. If you could collapse that backlog of demand, your practice will generate much more income. Obviously, you must see more patients per day to achieve this, and if the present doctor and staff are doing all they can, then another doctor is needed. A bonus benefit of reducing the backlog is that patients will be much happier, because scheduling appointments becomes more convenient for them, and patient service may even improve because stress in the office will be reduced. This results in even more referrals.

It is a big step to add another doctor to any practice, but there are many potential rewards. Here are a few thoughts:

Facility Practice orientation Compensation
Best wishes for continued success,

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