Most doctors are focusing on the busy end of the year right now but I urge you to take some time to look ahead to 2014. Create a plan that involves giving your staff a greater role in producing income for your practice.
You’re well aware of the importance of a well-trained staff and know they are also the first and last people to make an impression during a patient’s visit. I recommend looking at your patient flow throughout the day, how your staff is using their time, and find opportunities to get them more involved with the patient experience. If you’re properly staffed, they can help throughout the day to assist with patient care and promote your recommendations.
Both you and your staff will have to adapt, but the benefits will be great. By teaching your team, letting them know what key things should be said, or providing them with scripts, you can hand patients off to staff members who can discuss your recommendations from the exam room. This idea goes well beyond eyewear recommendations.
This sounds simple but having staff truly well versed in discussing optional tests such as screening retinal images or macular pigment density testing will promote how high-tech your practice really is and bring in additional revenue.
If your team can speak from personal experience about procedures or products, their message to your patients will also be beneficial. For example, if someone has had LASIK, let her share her story with patients and tell them to ask the doctor if they may be a good candidate as well. Apply that same philosophy to those in your office who wear orthokeratology, multifocal, or daily disposable lenses. If you don’t have staff wearing these types of lenses, go ahead and fit them.
Do you have staff members with dry eye? If so, have them explain the importance of ongoing care and treatment to your patients. Did they get better with punctal plugs or prescription eyedrops? They can tell patients to ask you about treatment options. If you sell artificial tears, omega 3 supplements, or even supplements for macular degeneration, your staff can mention these things, opening the door for your professional recommendation.
There are surely a number of areas within your practice that both you and your staff would like to improve. Start with ideas such as these to internally market your practice and see your profits rise.
ERIC L. BRAN, OD, PROFESSIONAL EDITOR