5 Little Things That Will Make a Big Difference in Your Practice - E36
One of my frustrations with practice management CE, optometric management, Review of Optometry and the like is I feel that very little applies directly to me. In the world of a private practice doctor, we are mainly the primary care of eye health. I know we all try to build our specialties and have a niche here and there, but glasses and contacts are the majority of what we do. As a result of this I am going to give you 5 little things you can do to improve your practice and be perceived as a better doctor.
Get as much information as Possible
This seems pretty straight forward but when I have visited other offices, worked in different clinics, or talked to some of my colleagues this does not always happen. Merely reminding a contact lens patient to bring in their old boxes or doing lensometry on the new glasses a patient does not wear as well as the old glasses they love helps you be a better doctor.
In the former situation, all patients think they wear Oasys and they do not. If you fit them in a perfectly fine pair of contacts, but it's not what they have had in the past, they may become a headache. I also have a sheet in my exam room with pictures of all the major contact lens brands. This can help the “Oasys” patient remember what they are actually wearing.
In the case of the patient who hates the new lenses that “were never right”, we often find the prescription to be similar. Knowing this ahead of time gives you the ability to dig deeper and find out the root cause of their displeasure and take actions to not repeat the same mistakes (ex. Seg is in the wrong spot, frame is uncomfortable, etc).
Prepare ahead of time!
Retinoscopy can Save you
I do not trust auto-refraction compared to my retinoscopy. This is especially true with kids. A quick scope of your patients eyes will let you know if their responses make sense, if there is possibly a cataract obstructing vision, and ultimately give more time to talk with the patient instead of refracting them.
Do not forget this old, but very useful skill.
Trial frame, Trial Frame, Trial Frame
I absolutely despised trial framing a patient in optometry school. However, when I first started at my own office, we have 8-10 ft lanes and I would tend to over plus the patient.Trial framing the patient was a life saver in regards to remakes. I have since made changes and do not need to trial frame to confirm the prescription, but what I noticed was that patients love seeing their prescription outside the phoropter. Patients would ask if I was going to let them look outside and honestly tell me being able to compare the old prescription with the new is incredibly beneficial.
Give it a try and see what your patients say.
It's OK to Tell the Patient They Don't NEED New Glasses
This may seem counter-intuitive but believe me, your patients will come to trust you much quicker if they don't feel like they are being sold to. I will often tell my patients that don't have a big change that unless they want to update their frames, they don't need a new pair of glasses. This helps them drop their guard and they will tell you "Oh no, I want to update my frame!" or "That's great to hear!" so either way, you know how to direct them when it comes to optical. Remember, you want to steer them the way they already want to go.
Do Not Worry About RX Checks
When I first started practicing, I hated Rx checks. I would immediately go on the defensive and try to explain why the patient was wrong and I was right. I have come so far from that, my friends. Now, I welcome them! The way I see it is I would rather have them come back to me with an issue instead of get brushed off and they go to another office and become that patient that says "the last office gave me these glasses and they never worked". The majority of the time I don't even need to make a change and the patient just wants to hear from me that what they are experiencing is normal adaptation and their concerns are heard. I am the doctor and I know way more about the in's and out's of the lenses than my staff so it makes sense for me to walk them through that.
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