One of the most demanding issues optometrists face is balancing their dual roles as practitioner and CEO. We are all well trained in examining eyes, diagnosing disease, and prescribing, but when it comes to practice management and working on the business side of the practice, many ODs struggle. The challenge is to learn how to run your business and find the time to do it.
Many doctors don’t designate sufficient time to running their practices. They attempt to get administrative and business duties taken care of during “down time” or between patients. There’s a good chance this time gets interrupted. But by blocking out specific hours in their patient schedule, they can devote the necessary focus and time on planning duties and managing the practice. In order to find the time to take care of such CEO duties, delegation of tasks needs to be effective. With advanced technology and properly trained staff, you can entrust a larger portion of your exam time to staff. By saving time, you can see a greater number of patients each day in fewer hours, thus leaving more time for CEO duties.
Often a practice’s office manager position is given to the employee at the front desk with the longest tenure. Successful practices have managers with skills to supervise people and the personality traits to get things done. Some of the tasks an office manager should be taking on to lighten your workload include scheduling staff training and work schedules, contacting insurance companies to evaluate the value of a plan, and making sure invoices are sent out in a timely manner.
Marketing/advertising is an area of practice management that is often put off due to time constraints. Having an employee who can help you with various aspects of marketing is very valuable. Web site updates, social media, office newsletters, and planned events such as trunk shows are projects you can get assistance with.
When it comes down to it, meeting with salespeople, paying bills, and ordering optical inventory all take time away from building your practice. Having help with these tasks will assist you in spending more time to achieve your practice’s goals. Are there areas of specialization to focus on such as dry eye and macular degeneration, for example, that can help grow your practice?
Decisions such as purchasing and leasing equipment, setting financial goals and an office budget, the appearance of the office, and improving the interaction of staff with patients require your time and attention as CEO. With the right team approach taking some of the workload, you will have more time for working on your practice instead of just in it.