|A new check-in app from First Insight Corp. for the iPad integrates with MaximEyes software.|
|The PatientReach Tablet by Solutionreach allows patients to sign required forms, take customized surveys and request additional materials””all from your waiting room.|
Technology, technicians and time-saving communication will boost your practice’s productivity without sacrificing care.
When I first started in the industry, I had the pleasure of working in an office that had been in existence for over 50 years. It was always fun to pull out a record where the entirety of the notes, sometimes for several years of visits, were written on a single index card. With the myriad changes we have all experienced in the medical and insurance world, we have all had to become more efficient, not only when collecting personal and medical data but also how it’s organized and stored.
We as medical professionals are bombarded on a daily basis with information about how different instrumentation or software will save us time so that we can see more patients and hopefully become more financially successful.
One of the latest technologies that our office is currently exploring is the PatientReach Tablet by Solutionreach. This easy-to-use software allows our staff to collect personal history along with contact and insurance information from iPads that patients use in the waiting room. It also allows us to collect signatures on all of those informational forms we are required to show our patients. The software is flexible enough so that you can not only ask the required questions for a Review of Systems, but you also can add other questions. For example, we added the questions from the Dry Eye Speed Questionnaire to our review. (WebSystem3 from CooperVision, Demandforce and 4PatientCare also offer customizable surveys.)
In the few weeks in which we have been utilizing this new technology it has created a lot of buzz and questions about dry eye, which can only lead to better patient care and practice profitability. The best part is that all of the information is saved by Solutionreach, and at the next visit it will re-populate everything and alert the staff to any changes that have been made.
First Insight Corp. also helps maximize office efficiency with online welcome and medical history forms, scheduling and faxing built into its MaximEyes software, which also integrates a new check-in app for the iPad.
For those of you who have been lucky enough to find a great optometric technician or staff person, you know that they are worth their weight in gold. They are the ones who can utilize and keep working all of that wonderful technology that frees us up as doctors from collecting and organizing all of that personal and medical information. Like technology upgrades, good staff requires a time commitment for both development and training. Extra staff and new technology also come at a financial cost, and although good arguments can be made for the investment and the risk, it does mean that we have to generate quite a bit of revenue before we can make a profit.
Another thing to consider when trying to improve office efficiency is asking yourself and your staff, “What are we saying and how are we saying it?”
I would encourage you to determine how much time is wasted in your practice because of the all-too-common variations on the following scenarios:
• Patients who don’t complete the Review of Systems so you or your staff have to go through it question by question with them.
• Patients who are looking around during the visual fields test so you have to wait while your staff repeats it or you have to order a more extensive test.
• Patients who return for an Rx problem visit because it’s their first time wearing progressive lenses and they weren’t told to expect a re-calibration period because of a 2.00D Rx change.
These are just a few of many scenarios. What do they have in common? All could have been avoided by a simple explanation or one that was worded in a slightly different way.
In our office we try to make a game of it. Not only am I always looking at how I say things and observe the results I get, but I encourage my staff to do the same. For example, for the first scenario above we utilize a tablet-based Review of Symptoms questionnaire as mentioned earlier. On it, the patient is asked 31 questions about their personal and family health history. I noticed that I was starting to get results in which the patient was only answering part of the questionnaire. After a little research and eavesdropping, I found that the staff was handing the tablet to the patient and directing them to “answer all of the questions.” After a quick meeting, we decided to tell the patient to “answer all 31 questions” instead. That little tweak in direction to the patient solved the problem of incomplete patient history.
Another technique I am constantly encouraging the doctors and staff to use is the power of prediction. By correctly predicting the outcome, we not only reinforce our credibility, but we also avoid a lot of wasted time and effort later. The third scenario above is a classic example of this. I can always tell when my opticians are not predicting because I either get called out to reinforce the explanation they gave the patient when the glasses were tried on, or the patient refuses to take the glasses and demands a Rx problem visit. This not only takes up both staff and doctor time but sometimes results in unnecessary re-do’s because the patient is convinced that there is something wrong with the glasses. This could have been avoided by the doctor and the staff spending 20 seconds to predict that the glasses will be clear but that they will feel different or strange during the re-calibration phase””and sharing that with the patient.
This approach requires ongoing observation and effort by you and your staff. By encouraging your staff to play the game and have some fun with it, you can get some amazing savings in time and effort while providing better patient care””all with a much smaller financial investment.
Lassa J. Frank, OD, is in private practice in San Anselmo, CA.
WHERE TO FIND IT:
877.777.9078 | 4PatientCare.com
800.210.0355 | Optometry.Demandforce.com
866.605.6867 | Solutionreach.com
866.575.3937 | www.WebSystem3.com