Practice changes can increase office efficiency
Unfortunately, it took a calamity for one doctor of optometry to rethink how well her practice was running.
I am seeing 20 percent more patients per day, and several of them are new patients.
Cyndie Baker, O.D., was among the doctors whose offices were heavily damaged during the historic flooding in mid-August in southeast Louisiana. During the two months her Denham Springs office was closed, Dr. Baker took a step back and evaluated. Although she had thought over the years about remodeling, it just had never happened.
"Good things can come out of bad things," Dr. Baker says. "It definitely was a silver lining. With everything brand new, my office is more attractive to patients and associates. The office needed a facelift-it was 21 years old." However, a disaster is not required in order for doctors to take a second look at their office operations.
Dr. Baker has practiced in Louisiana for 30 years. She is quick to say that her staff makes her practice run like clockwork.
"More than anything, my well-trained, wonderful staff are what keeps the office running efficiently," she says. "Most of my staff members have been with me for a decade and some for nearly two decades."
Still, last summer's flood presented the practice the opportunity to take a fresh look. It sometimes isn't easy, under the demands of caring for patients and managing the office, to take a step back and see the big picture. Is your office working for you and staff members? Is it working for your patients?
Change can be good. Dr. Baker reopened her practice in October.
"With the reconstruction, my builder added five new rooms to my office," Dr. Baker says. "I had two exam lanes and now I have four. He added a new full-service lab, expanded the business office and a new pre-test room and one private office. The square footage in the optical was reduced to center more on medical eye care, but we continue to display the same number of frames."
She adds, "The checkout window was moved to the reception desk, and that has been helpful.
This spring, her daughter will graduate from optometry school and she may join her in practice.
"I experienced my best month ever in January! I am seeing 20 percent more patients per day, and several of them are new patients. With all new, state-of-the-art equipment, I am looking forward to my daughter joining me soon. I believe the office can accommodate both of us now that it is updated."
And to think she had been worried, during her practice's flood recovery, that her patients would put off their annual eye examinations. "The opposite has been true," Dr. Baker says.
Continuing education at Optometry's Meeting®
Optometry's Meeting® offers five days of continuing education starting Wednesday, June 21, at 10:30 a.m., and ending Sunday, June 25, at 12 p.m. Attendees looking for practice management courses can consider the following:
- "Efficiency—How to See 50 Patients Per Day" from 1-2 p.m. on Thursday, June 22
- "Front office success and scheduling strategies" from 9-10 a.m. on Friday, June 23
- "How to deliver efficient and effective patient experiences" from 10-11 a.m. on Friday, June 23
"If doctors can just be a little more efficient, it can make a big impact on their practice," says Peter Cass, O.D., who will present the course, "Efficiency—How to See 50 Patients Per Day," which will focus on how doctors can use scheduling, delegation, technology, office flow and use of software to increase efficiency.