Article Date: 9/1/2008

Big Gains Come in Small Packages
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Big Gains Come in Small Packages

You can make a big statement when you focus on the little things.

Jim Thomas

Why am I smiling? Because I just got an e-fax system. These systems let you send and receive faxes through any computer via an Internet connection. It may seem like such a simple idea, so I'll explain the big benefits in a little more detail.

First, I hate the fax machine. Assuming the sender dials your number correctly ("Is that a four or a nine?" "Do I have to dial a nine for an outside line?"), the anticipation begins. I walk down the hall to the printer/fax area. Here, the machine has printed the cover page correctly (only because the cover page provides no useful information). Next, the machine runs out of paper. I refill it, press the "reset" button and wait several minutes only to find a paper jam somewhere in the machine. I pull the fax machine apart, remove the jam and call the sender to ask him to resend the document. I make sure that the paper is properly in the tray, so a second jam won't occur. The paper prints out, but the type and images are illegible. I call the sender again who, himself, a hater of fax machines, tells me it's my fault — the reproduction is only as good as my fax machine's resolution.

I don't fare any better sending faxes. I wait through busy signals, rings and buzzes before my document slowly grinds through this decades-old technology.

Hours pass…

With an e-fax system, I'm spared the aggravation, time, file space and paper jams. I store faxes on my computer and no longer have to sprint to the fax each time someone sends me a sensitive document. Plus, the paperless workflow impresses both computer geeks and environmentalists.

Big impact

At OM, we like to cover the big ideas, but we recognize that smaller changes and upgrades can have a sizeable impact on your practice. On page 70, Dr. Amir Khoshnevis explains how a simple idea — scheduling appointments for optical dispensing — creates loyal patients. If you don't immediately see the connection between dispensing appointments and loyalty — and the benefit of providing patients with a specific time to pick up their eyewear — think back to the time when the mechanic promised to fix your car by three o'clock and at five o'clock, you were still waiting. Or, remember the time your new furniture wasn't delivered on the day promised, leaving you to entertain family with your finest crystal on a Samsonite folding table. Or better still, read the article.

Please e-mail me your practice management ideas at OM

Optometric Management, Issue: September 2008