Article

NEW GRAD

Controlling the Flow

4 hands-on ways corporate locations efficiently handle high patient volume

ARE YOU A NEW GRAD CONCERNED about handling the patient volume in a busy corporate optical location?

The benefits of working in corporate optometry are many—including the opportunity to hone clinical skills with a consistent flow of patients. But, being a new grad in a fast-paced environment can require some time to adjust. Organizing patient flow and maximizing efficiency, especially in busy locations, is essential.

Here, we present four ways that corporate opticals—and the new optometrists working within them—can make the patient volume easier to handle.

#1
CROSS-TRAIN STAFF.

The optical staff can be cross-trained to make the patient experience frictionless. How? The associates are often trained to assist with the high volume of patients by helping with the transition of a walk-in patient, verifying insurance/copays, pretesting, and performing other tasks.

Cross-trained staff understand the various aspects of the business and can wear multiple hats when things get busy or during staff shortages.

#2
PRACTICE EFFICIENCY.

The efficiency of the practice is vital to the success of a corporate optical. The foot traffic seen by so many of these locations requires it.

Many store layouts are strategically designed to be able to handle four or five patients an hour. Aiding the efficiency is the fact that many corporate opticals will have a tech on staff to pretest and handle all major testing so that the O.D. can focus on what they need to do.

Verification of insurance benefits is usually pulled ahead of the appointment time to help reduce time spent at check-in and to prevent bottlenecks in the schedule.

#3
EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY.

Many corporate opticals have installed the most up-to-date technology available in the industry, and that is extremely helpful in handling a heavy patient volume.

Automated exam lanes help reduce the need for double entry and can increase the accuracy of an eye exam. Retinal imaging is also a great way to help educate the patient about their eye health, document any findings, and move the exam along quickly.

#4
EMR IS YOUR FRIEND.

Efficient operations and good patient flow are dependent on reducing schedule lags and increasing the speed of the patient journey. Many corporate opticals use automated recall technology or services to help fill the patient schedule and reduce no-show rates, which saves the staff from making phone calls.

EMR systems let staff quickly search for and produce patient charts—ultimately increasing the efficiency of the eye exam as it will be easier for the optometrist to search past records and input new findings.

When it comes to practice efficiency and handling a high volume of patients, corporate optometry has it figured out. Many new graduates join corporate optometry so they can learn the basics of running a practice in addition to honing their patient skills.

New grad and still concerned about handling notable patient volume? Go with the flow, and learn from your corporate location the ins and outs of patient flow, staff training, efficient store design, and the equipment needed to maintain a fast-paced yet efficient schedule. COT! —Maria Sampalis, O.D.