Article Date: 11/1/2013

O.D. to O.D.
o.d. to o.d.

Efficiency: Confession of an Obsession

Yes, efficient procedures will improve your operations. But they will also ensure patients get more out of their visits.


BY SCOT MORRIS, O.D., F.A.A.O. Chief Optometric Editor

I have a confession: I have been waiting all year for this issue. It is no surprise to anyone who knows me to hear me say that I am obsessed with making things efficient. In fact, I confess I am on the edge of fanatical about it.


I was a teenager when I first read about a Japanese concept called “Kaizen.” In English, it translates roughly to “constant and never-ending improvement” (often abbreviated as C.A.N.I.).

This concept was reinforced in me a couple years later in high school when as a freshman football player, I remember walking into the weight room on the first day of practice and reading this overhead sign:

If you are not getting better, you are getting worse!

I read that sign every day for the next four years. It is now ingrained in my brain.

See through the consumer’s eyes

In applying that weight room sign to our profession, how can we be more efficient to improve our practices? Granted, not all of you want to see more patients, or maybe some of you like going a little slower to develop a relationship with those around you. All these reasons are great, but I also want you to think about the appointment process from your consumer’s (patient’s) point of view: Do you think they want to spend more time with you, or would they rather get more out of their visit?

Put yourself in your patients´┐Ż shoes.

Put yourself in your patients’ shoes, and I think you’ll find the answer is get more out of your visit. Similarly, would you rather spend more time at your doctor’s office or have your medical needs met in less time so that you can get on with your day? The latter, right?

Efficiency for practice improvements

To ensure our patients get more out of their visit, we must look into ways of making our administrative duties more efficient. Or, we should examine how we can decrease the time between when a patient orders glasses and when those glasses are delivered to the patient.

Everything ranging from staff training or marketing to inventory management fall within the realm of being efficient and effective with your time.

Expert advice

This month, we have some of the best efficiency experts in the business discussing how you can improve your efficiency to better your practice. And, more importantly, these efficiency professionals give you, our readers, the tools and strategies needed to step up your game.

To start, Walter Choate and I discuss how you can achieve patient exam appointment efficiency. This article was born out of a conversation we recently had while attending a Sting concert. To paraphrase one of his songs, “If you love your patients, set them free.” Also, be sure to check out John Warren’s article, which discusses efficiency from a technology perspective, and Neil Gailmard and Gina Wesley weigh in on this important topic as well.

You too can have C.A.N.I. one step at a time. OM

Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: November 2013, page(s): 2