In life, as in practice, there is a difference between the "Ideal" and the "Real." The ideal is the vision of who you strive to be; your dream. The real is what you actually are; based on the real life circumstances you are dealing with. Practicing optometry, running a business and just being a person is the constant progression from the real toward the ideal. In my practice we have recently redefined the "departments" to better reflect the balance between our ideal practice and our current reality. Throughout the upcoming cold months, I want to share some details about this experience and how our mistakes can make YOU better.
For now, I simply want to introduce to you the overall concept:
Every task within our practice falls into one of five different Executive Zones. Each zone has a leader who is simply responsible for getting the things done in that zone. Of course there is a lot of overlap, so the doctors' role is to keep everyone communicating.
Five Executive Zones
Scheduling - Keep the schedule full. This involves marketing, recall and organizing all the different ways people expect to be able to schedule appointments these days. Patients schedule online, in person, and on the phone. Some patients come back in a year and others need to return tomorrow, and then there are emergencies. Keeping it all straight is not as easy as it used to be. And it really is the whole purpose of all marketing efforts.
Distribution - When you call it a "lab," it suggests that you make something. We have a nice edger that we never use (Click Here to purchase). Most of our lenses are personalized progressive lenses or another type of specialized lens. We are not really in the glasses making business anymore and I have forgotten what a radiuscope looks like. And, we are not very good at the non-optical products our patients need like nutraceuticals and contact lens solutions. I am hoping this zone shift will help us with that.
Front of House - We believe that our adherence to the Three Steps of Service have helped build our reputation of excellence in our community. They are 1) Warm Greeting, 2)Anticipate Needs and 3)Fond Farewell. This matters most in the optical area which is dominated by a front desk. Processes include Check In, Check Out, Frame / Lens Selection, Price Objections, Explanation of Insurance Benefits, Scheduling, Dispensing and Adjusting. We need to do a better job making people feel at home in this critical area of our practice.
Financial Integrity - Money coming into and going out of your practice is getting more and more complicated. Almost every insurance "check" we get now is in the form of an Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT). Other forms of payment are credit card, Care Credit, debit card, old fashion paper check and cash. And let's not even mention all the sources where the money goes. It doesn't take much inattention for the Cash Flow to become difficult to maintain. This doesn't leave much attention for improvements.
Patient Care - There is a delicate balance between efficiency and good care. There is equilibrium between respecting your patient's time and earnestly listening to their needs. Ultimately, our job is to take care of our patients' visual health and visual performance. The Eye Exam is still the cornerstone of our business. It needs constant attention to maintain the balance of quality and trust. Just do the patients right.