That It's Your Time to Shine
consulting with patients, does your office speak louder than you?
THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR Jim Thomas
Optometric Management, we often refer to the doctor/patient consultation as "your
time to shine." You, the optometrist, have reviewed test results and other pertinent
patient information and are now ready to meet with the patient, discuss recommendations
and prescribe a course of action.
In my experience, you are well-prepared for
the consultation. You demonstrate an excellent understanding of the patient's need(s).
Your presentation speaks directly to the patient. You anticipate questions and just
as important, you listen. Could anything possibly be missing?
If the office itself doesn't facilitate
the consultation, then the likely answer is yes.
Set the stage
I've visited a number of healthcare practices
where the doctor's message gets lost as the patient's attention drifts to a bright
computer monitor, loud background music or even louder decor. And, those non-emergency
interruptions that can certainly undermine the consultation.
In a busy practice, interruptions are
unavoidable. And a tastefully decorated practice includes eye-catching art and furnishings.
However, the office environment should always remain functional. The focus must
be on you during this relatively brief and highly valuable period of time.
Become the patient
It's helpful to experience the room from the
patient's perspective. Is the chair comfortable? Is the music in the background,
or is it too loud or too off beat? Would you focus on the doctor or some other aspect
of the room? Ask staff for their opinions.
Many presentations involve visual aids,
such as posters, models or patient education software. These should be readily available,
veniently located and seamlessly integrated
into your practice.
As for other interruptions, your staff
should know that unless it's truly an emergency, messages should be delivered to
you after the consultation. It seems like an obvious point, but I've found many
healthcare practices break this rule.
Think of the consultation in terms
of any presentation. The setting plays a critical role in delivering a most important
message that you are an excellent eyecare practitioner.
A welcome addition
It's my pleasure to announce that Jennifer
Kirby has joined the staff of OM as our senior associate editor. I'm confident that
Jen's experience, eye for detail and can-do attitude will contribute significantly
to the continued success of our publication.
Optometric Management, Issue: January 2007