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 By Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO, Editor April 9, 2003 - Tip #64 
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Preventing Forgotten Orders

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Do you ever get a call from a patient asking if his contact lenses are in, and upon checking, you find that they were never ordered? Not a good feeling. But it happens in even the most efficient offices because patient records get moved from one place to another - and may not always reach the doctor and order desk as planned.

There are many examples of tasks that fall through the cracks in a busy practice when you think about it. There was that letter you were supposed to write to a colleague who referred a patient to you, and the one you were supposed to write for the patient you referred out. You meant to research a potential drug interaction for a patient, and you were going to call that other patient with the infection the next day to see if she was healing. And you were going to order that low vision aid - and that unusual size punctual plug.

Some of these forgotten chores will come back when the patient calls and asks - and some are lost forever, but in any case, it is not good for your practice when things are forgotten.

I have been using a simple tip that has saved me many times from forgetting something when the record might have been filed away prematurely. This tip was passed on to me many years ago from my good friend, Walt West, O.D. of Brentwood, Tennessee. There is an inexpensive product available at office supply stores called banker's clips. They are silver metal, about 5 inches long and were originally intended to clip stacks of dollar bills - but they fit perfectly and easily over the end of a patient's file folder. The clip stays secure, but is easily put on and off. Here are two links where you can see a picture of banker's clips, (but I'm not endorsing these websites): http://www.buyonlinenow.com/viewproduct.asp?sku=SPR01443 or http://www.accurateoffice.com/catalog/ptypeListStacked.asp?pathIDs=1,33,857&selectedID=857

When a record is clipped it means - do not file away! Something needs to be done! Typically, my staff moves these records to my desk so I can write an order and route them to the proper place. If I am reviewing a stack of records at the end of the day, the ones with clips stand out and alert me to look carefully at it, and take the proper action. Clips are only to be removed from a file by the person who completes the task, such as my contact lens technician when she places the CL order, or by me when I'm finished writing the letter.

Of course, we still must remember to place the clip on the file in the first place, but that is pretty easy. I keep a stack of banker's clip in every exam room and in other key central areas of the office. I use them - or more often my staff uses them - to clip a record whenever they see something needs to be done that can't be taken care of on the spot. It's not high tech - but it gets the job done!

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® 2 COLOURS™ 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.

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