Article Date: 1/1/2013

Improving Patient Flow
practice profile

Improving Patient Flow

The Uniqueside of Optometry

These four steps transformed my crowded practice into a well-oiled machine.

Kerry Salsberg, HonBSc, O.D., TORONTO, CAN.

To solve the excessive patient “touch points” problem in my seven-doctor, 2,100 squarefoot practice, I implemented four solutions.*


All or some may be applicable to your practice:

Implementing a staggered schedule. We staggered exam times to reduce confusion and crowding.

Shifting staff resources. To resolve the staff and patient pre-test area bottleneck, we shifted some staff resources from the front desk to the pre-test area, tweaked individual responsibilities and split pre-testing into two stations.

Adding a combination refraction, corneal topography, optical path difference and wavefront analysis device. It transmits data directly into its autophoroptor, cutting staff and patient traffic.

Adding a retinal exam device. We use this on patients older than age six before they see the doctor. We’ve gone from 150 exams per month to roughly 600. Someone may decline the extra expense after undergoing the device, but we aren’t charged until the image is opened.

Quantifying results

“Touch points” have dropped from 13 to 4. Visit time (e.g. entering the office/visiting the dispensary) now averages 30 minutes, including dilation and fundus exam. It used to take 50 to 70 minutes. We have added tests by eliminating unproductive waiting. Also, because testing and the exam no longer takes an hour, patients have been more inclined to make dispensary purchases.

In the first half of 2012, our revenue was up 25% vs. the same period in 2011. This revenue growth resulted from higher revenue per patient. OM

*ODLean, a consulting service of The Vision Care Institute, LLC, a member of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies provided Dr. Salsberg with the aforementioned solutions.


The staff of Eyes on Sheppard in Toronto, Canada, now operates like a well-oiled machine.

Dr. Salsberg is co-owner of Eyes on Sheppard in Toronto, Canada. He has no financial interest in ODLean or Vistakon. E-mail him at, or send comments to optomet


Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: January 2013, page(s): 64