Tips to Improve Your Ophthalmology Clinical Efficiency

Tips to Improve Your Ophthalmology Clinical Efficiency

When it comes to assessing your ophthalmology practice’s clinical efficiencies, it’s often hard to see the forest through the trees. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the small details and chaos that can occur on a daily basis within your practice. You may realize that your days get easily bottlenecked but not realize exactly why that is happening. By the time the workday has ended, your staff may be overworked, exhausted and ready to go home rather than spending time delving into ways to improve patient flow.

The longer your office exists in an environment of chaotic, whirlwind days, the more it will negatively impact your staff, your patients and ultimately your revenue. Consider this snowball effect:

  • Overwhelmed staff may begin to look for better jobs with your competitors
  • Turnover can result in more work for existing staff until suitable replacements are found
  • Office chaos may grow as the new staff undergoes training
  • Patients may feel the effects of office confusion, leading to frustrations
  • Negative patient experiences can lead to negative online reviews about your practice
  • Poor reviews online can impact your lead flow and revenue stream

Learn About Your Clinical Experience

If your office is experiencing routine bottlenecks within your clinical flow, it may be time to take a step back and assess your process. Whether you appoint a staff member to handle this task or hire an external consultant to help, it can be helpful to start by tracking how patients interact with your office. Gather the following information to assess your patient flow:

  • How many patients are seen on a daily basis?
  • How much time do patients spend in the office?
  • How much time do patients spend with technicians?
  • How much time do patients spend with doctors?
  • How much time do patients spend having tests?
  • How many patients are early or late for appointments?
  • How many patients do not show up for appointments?
  • How long do patients have to wait in your office for appointment delays?
  • Does gathering patient information add to appointment delays?
  • Is your staff to blame for patient appointment delays?
  • Do you allow time in your days for emergency appointments?
  • Are there certain days of the week when bottlenecks occur more often?
  • How much downtime/waiting time do your doctors have throughout the day?

While this can seem like a lot of data to collect, it will help to uncover the exact bottleneck that is causing your office chaos and inefficiency. Once identified, you can take steps to improve your patient flow.

Take Control of Your Clinical Experience

There is no way to guarantee that every day in your ophthalmology office will run smoothly and that you will never be behind on appointments. However, there are ways to make improvements.

Change your scheduling time slots to take into consideration your doctors’ personalities. For example, if one doctor is extremely outgoing and often spends more time with patients than your other doctors, allow for longer appointment time slots to accommodate. You never want patients to feel like they are being rushed through an appointment, especially if they are having a great interaction with their doctor.

Using a scribe during appointments may help speed up appointments without making the patient feel rushed.

Make sure your exam rooms are well-equipped with the proper items needed for all types of appointments such as eye drops, functioning equipment, etc.

Doctors and technicians should take time at the start of the day to quickly review the charts of the patients coming in for the day so they will be more prepared for the various scenarios they will be handling.

Determine if it is more feasible to schedule shorter appointments during the morning or afternoon hours or if it might be more beneficial to spread those throughout the day. Some of the longer appointments that require dilation or specific tests could have overlapping appointments that are shorter in order to make the most efficient use of the doctor’s time. This can be a delicate balancing act to coordinate.

If you find that your appointment schedule is running behind, keep your waiting patients informed about the delays. The more you communicate with patients, the better chance you will have at keeping the peace. If possible, offer them refreshments as they wait, free WiFi, etc.

A 3rd Party Assessment is Best

To get a completely unbiased view of your internal processes, hiring an outsider is an excellent investment. The outsider may pinpoint things that your own staff will completely overlook, simply because they will not be so close to your practice.

Advantage Healthcare Consulting, a division of Advantage Administration, is a Management Services Organization (MSO) that provides analysis of clinical efficiency for ophthalmology practices. We have assembled outstanding companies that offer these types of services to help practices review their current patient scheduling templates, review the patient intake process, observe the patient flow, recommend redesigns of the process and assess the productivity and skills of the clinical staff. Working together with your management staff, these companies are able to help practices create a smooth and efficient patient flow that makes everyone happy – from upper management to staff to patients. Everyone wins.

To find out how your practice can access the incredible partners that are part of our MSO, contact Advantage Healthcare Consulting today. Membership in our MSO has distinct advantages including amazing savings on services like clinical efficiency reviews as well as an entire scope of medical management, supplies and services. Contact us today to learn more.