Simple ideas to help improve this area.
Jerry Hayes, O.D.
How does doctor productivity affect a practice?
Hayes Consulting performed an in-depth survey of 100+ optometrists that compared
the time doctors spent in their practice to the dollars they produced.
"Revenue Per O.D. Hour" (below) outlines the results.
Looking at O.D. numbers
Higher doctor productivity is a function of
seeing more patients or charging higher fees or a combination of both. Not
surprisingly, the higher the hourly production of the doctor, the more the
practice grossed and netted.
High netting O.D.s (more than 31% of gross) also
outproduced low netting O.D.s in all three size categories. At the extreme ends
of the scale, O.D.s who practiced in large, high-net practices outproduced O.D.s
in small, low net practices $394 per hour to $207 -- a ratio of almost 2 to 1.
Higher doctor productivity leads to higher nets
and larger gross dollars. We can attribute this to seeing more patients,
charging higher fees or a combination of these.
Small versus large
In comparing what non O.D. staff produced versus
what the doctor produced (see "Revenue Per Staff Hour"), O.D.
production increased with practice size, while staff production did the
opposite. The amount of dollars that each employee produced on an hourly basis
declined as gross income increased above $300,000 each year.
One reason is that staff productivity is often
artificially high in small gross practices because the doctor spends a lot of
time performing staff-related duties (e.g., pre-exam workups and frame
dispensings). This holds down doctor productivity and makes staff productivity
look better than it is.
Another reason why staff productivity declines as
practices get larger is that doctors in large gross practices delegate
nonprofessional tasks to their staffs better. Delegation frees up the doctor to
concentrate on higher levels of patient care, but it also gives the staff more
to do. Hence, more employees are required, making the hourly staff productivity
Improving your productivity
Increase your practice profits without raising
A Work faster and more efficiently. But there is
a practical limit as to how fast you can work and still give your patients the
feeling that they're receiving quality care.
A Delegate more by handing off every task that
doesn't require a doctor's skill to well-trained staff members. This will allow
you to work at your highest level of patient care and still have enough time to
give patients your undivided personal attention.
Happy practice & patients
It takes teamwork to have a high-volume practice
that delivers quality care. The key is for each team member to focus on their
highest level of training within the practice. Do that and you'll achieve
maximum productivity while creating highly satisfied patients.
Per O.D. Hour
Per Staff Hour
A frequent writer and speaker on practice
management issues, Dr. Hayes is the founder and director of Hayes Consulting.
You can reach him at (800) 588-9636 or JHAYES@HAYESCONSULTING.NET.
Optometric Management, Issue: May 2004