remember to never assume anyone even you and your staff has been educated
By Troy A. Flax,
RECENTLY, I SAW
a new patient who reminded me that we should avoid making assumptions about people.
What might have been a routine encounter turned into a learning experience for me.
My new patient was a 55-year-old man, referred
by a friend. He had never had his eyes examined and was so nervous he literally
shook. He told me our instruments looked more intimidating that his dentist's equipment.I explained what each instrument does and how we use them. While I was talking,
I noticed he was becoming more relaxed. Educating him about the eye exam was the
key to comforting him. This situation reminded me of the three things critical
to the success of any practice education, education and education.
you go into practice for yourselves or to work for someone else, never assume
that you, your staff or your patients are fully educated. I learned that education
can come from many sources and can be imparted to many people. They'll be grateful
and you'll be better prepared to meet their expectations.
Show and Tell
Some of our colleagues are so busy concentrating
on their BIO technique that they don't talk while examining the fundus. As I work
my way through an examination, I tell the patient what I'm doing and why I'm doing
it. Educating patients increases the perceived value of your exam and sets you apart
from other eye doctors. But don't be the only one talking. Remember to listen as
patients' responses, comments and questions will guide the education
Teach Your Staff
You are the most expensive employee in your office.
Don't waste valuable time checking acuities or performing a test that a technician
can do (within state limitations). Every member of my staff is certified in some
way. The more they know, the more I can delegate. Your time is better spent seeing
patients, marketing your practice and reviewing your fees.
If you educate your patients and your staff, you'll
educate yourself. Stay current with optometric education and technology, but educate
your business mind also.
Recently, I took our entire staff to
a seminar offered by a well-known optometry consultant group. I've become a big
believer in this type of education. Practice management groups have done all the
research for you. All you have to do is let them help grow your practice.
What does all this education do for your practice?
Remember I said this new patient was a referral? That's exactly what education does.
I learned that an educated patient often takes the time to refer a friend because
of how I made him feel. Now, if I take the time to listen and educate a patient,
I may have the chance to listen and educate all his friends who need my services.
It costs nothing, but the upside is tremendous.
Optometric Management, Issue: November 2005