Published in Non-Clinical

Creating Office Efficiencies and Getting Your Staff Involved

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5 min read

Developing office efficiencies help you to better connect with staff and patients. Eyecare professionals can optimize their practice's workflow with these three tips.

Creating Office Efficiencies and Getting Your Staff Involved
Office efficiencies require a combination of two things:
  1. The appropriate systems are in place in the office.
  2. The appropriate people can implement those systems.
Thus, the employees in the office who help with patient management become critical to fulfilling the practice's mission. In our office, the staff is integral to enabling me to see patients as efficiently as possible, while providing the highest quality care.
This is a continual work in progress that we never take for granted and never consider completed. We are constantly evolving the roles of everyone in the office to keep up with new technologies.
Here, I’ll discuss three key components to getting everyone in your office involved in creating efficiencies.

Plan your day before you start seeing patients

This is the one thing that truly improved the workflow for how smoothly my daily schedule went. I used to have a technician go through a series of standard tests as part of a pre-test process for patients.
However, in doing so, I would then have to order additional tests after I saw the patient for the exam, requiring the technician to then re-engage with the patient afterward. This made it difficult for technicians to be easily accessible when I needed them for special testing. Additionally, when I got a technician, they often felt rushed and extremely stressed.
The inefficiency of this process struck me when I spoke to a good friend (who was a dentist) who told me that he goes over his schedule with his assistant every morning. It then hit me like a ton of bricks: why wouldn’t I do the same thing? This would allow me to share the clinical logic, as well as the game plan for the day, with the technician I would be working with.
We usually assign a technician each day to work with a specific doctor. So, every morning before I start seeing patients I meet with the technician and go over: the patients, any additional tests that will need to be performed, and most importantly, why I am ordering and performing the test. We’ve found this to be a great educational opportunity for the technicians and a more efficient way to perform tests.

As an example of this built-in efficiency, a macular degeneration patient would have their macula OCT scan performed during the pre-test process. That way, when I am reviewing the patient's information, I already know what their macular scans look like before even entering the exam room.

Have regular office meetings

This is an opportunity to bring everyone up to speed on changes to processes in the office. Additionally, this is an opportunity to re-establish the importance of current processes.
We make everyone an active part of the office meeting. We have a large board in the back office that we encourage everyone to add items to so that we can review them as a group during our weekly meetings. This is where they have the chance to put anything on the board where they feel there is an opportunity for improvement.
One of the things that we started doing a while ago was hooking up one of our laptops to a projector that everyone could easily see in the office during meetings. We would then go over things that were being done inconsistently in our software to see if we could optimize the process.
Each employee would at some point control the mouse and go through different processes on the computer. That way we could all visualize what we were talking about, instead of just discussing it.
As a bonus, we discovered better ways to perform tasks with fewer clicks. We often found that individually we were not doing things as efficiently as possible until we saw how others did it. Personally, this happened to me multiple times when I saw employees perform tasks step by step in our electronic health records.

Have employees create lists of things they want to know more about

Several years ago we started asking our employees to write down things they wish they knew more about. You don’t know what you don’t know, and you don’t know what your employees don’t know. As we go through our day, we make many assumptions about the knowledge base of the people around us.
We assume that because our technicians can perform an accurate visual field or OCT scan, they understand the principles behind the instrumentation. We assume that the people discussing orthokeratology with our patients understand its principles. We assume that those posting charges to the insurance companies understand the full path of submission. Often, the knowledge base on these tasks is not as complete as we think.
We ask our employees to keep lists of things they wish they knew more about and put them on the office meeting board. Sometimes we have full meetings devoted to additional explanations around these topics.

These conversations are often lively because everyone brings different perspectives to the conversation and elevates their ultimate level of knowledge on the topic through discussion.

Efficiency requires involving your staff

Involving everyone in your practice will inherently create increased levels of efficiency. Employees can communicate more effectively about almost everything in the office.
It is critical not to view this as a one-time activity, but a constantly evolving process in the office. In doing so, you will continue to engage everyone in the office at the highest level, and your office efficiencies will continue to improve.
Mile Brujic, OD, FAAO
About Mile Brujic, OD, FAAO

Mile Brujic, OD, FAAO is a 2002 graduate of the New England College of Optometry. He is a partner of Premier Vision Group, a successful four location optometric practice in Northwest Ohio. He practices full scope optometry with an emphasis on ocular disease management of the anterior segment and specialty contact lenses. He is active at all levels of organized optometry. Dr. Brujic is on the editorial board for a number of optometric publications. He has published over 400 articles and has given over 1800 lectures, both nationally and internationally on contemporary topics in eye care.

Mile Brujic, OD, FAAO
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