If you are having trouble viewing this email, please use the address below:
 By Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO, Editor June 30, 2004 - Tip #128 
 Contact Dr. Gailmard | Subscribe | Archives | Print this issue Visit: optometricmanagement.com 
Silent Signal Lights

  Sponsor: VISTAKON®
Teens & Contact Lenses: A Key to Practice Growth
There are more than 27 million teens in the United States -- that's nearly one in every 10 Americans. Did you know that nearly four in every 10 new contact lens wearers are teens? Now's the time for you to create a loyal, lifelong patient base by reaching out to younger patients and their parents with ACUVUE® 2 Brand Contact Lenses, an excellent choice for patients new to contacts. Exceptional comfort and handling make the ACUVUE® 2 Brand the right choice for teen wearers.
Additional Information

Did you ever miss an important phone call because you were in the exam room with a patient? Has your staff ever tried to let you know that you have a call, only to create an awkward moment as you excuse yourself from the patient you're examining? Here's a simple answer that has worked for me for years.

In every exam room, I have a small red glow light mounted on the wall behind the patient's chair, which is turned on and off by a light switch located in the business office. This easy-to-install and inexpensive device has served me well for years, because the patient does not know that I've been signaled. Here's how it works.

If I'm needed for any reason - an important phone call or something happening in the office - the receptionist or office manger just flips the switch that controls the light in the appropriate room. The light stays lit, and I can't help but see it when I look at the patient. Now that I know I'm needed for some good reason, I can excuse myself from the patient for any reason I come up with. I may be nearly done anyway, and I'll just let the receptionist wait a minute (she knows I'll be out soon). Or, it may be time to dilate and I'll tell the patient that my assistant will instill the drops and I'll see him later. I may tell the patient I need to re-verify the Rx in his old glasses, or I need another instrument, or whatever - anything is better than being called out for something more important.

If you're working toward building a practice that's based on excellent patient service and higher fees, the patient wants to feel like he or she is most important. When an assistant knocks on the exam room door and asks you to step out, or calls you on a phone or intercom, or buzzes you in some way, the patient knows he is secondary. It may be minor, but it reduces the experience a little bit.

If you're even a little handy with mechanical things, you can install these lights yourself with a trip to Radio Shack. Just tell the salesperson what you have in mind and he will fix you up. You'll need low voltage wire, the glow light fixture, colored lens and light bulb assembly, and possibly a cover plate to allow you to install the light onto drywall. You'll also need a small plug-in transformer. You will run the low voltage wire from the transformer to the switches in the business office to the lights in each exam room. If you have a suspended ceiling, this should be easy enough, and then you will drop the wire down inside the walls in between the wood studs. Another option is to just hire an electrician.

It's a good idea to meet with your staff and set up advance ground rules about when you want to be called out of an exam. There may be specific people who are always put through, and various rules about patients and other doctors calling. Also, I like to let my staff know day by day whenever I'm expecting a specific call and want to take it to avoid playing phone tag.

You may find a commercially available office light signal system (even wireless ones) that will do this for you also, but those are often geared toward calling a technician, or doctor to a room more than calling someone out of a room, and they may have a chime or beep to get the signal noticed, which I don't want in this case. And, in my personal situation, I don't have a need for a total office light system because I use scribes in the exam room and never have to call one to the room. As a side note, our doctors are notified that a patient is ready to be seen by use of a standard vibrating pager (see tip #2 at the past tip archive at www.optometric.com).

Best wishes for continued success,

Read Past Tips Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week

A Proud Supporter of

Send questions and comments to neil@gailmard.com.

Dr. Gailmard offers consulting services to eye care professionals through Prima Eye Group; information is available at www.primaeyegroup.com.
Advertiser Disclaimer: ACUVUE® and ACUVUE® 2TM are registered trademarks of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. © JJVCI 2003. All Rights Reserved.

Please Note: The views expressed in Management Tip of the Week do not necessarily reflect those of the sponsor.

Click to open a printer-friendly version of this tip.
Published by PentaVision LLC Copyright © 2002 - 2016 PentaVision LLC. All Rights Reserved.

If you prefer not to receive e-mail, please use the following link to remove your e-mail address from this list: Unsubscribe
This message was transmitted by PentaVision LLC, 321 Norristown Road, Suite 150, Ambler, PA 19002 | 215-628-6550
View the PentaVision LLC Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Please make sure our e-mail messages don't get marked as spam by adding visioncareprofessionalemail.com to your "approved senders" list. Please do not reply to this e-mail message.