Ensuring a steady and efficient flow of patients is highly important for every optometry practice that wants to sustain itself. When you see more patients in a day, your practice has a better chance of growing at a faster rate. There are various ways in which you can improve patient flow in an optometry practice. But first, it’s essential to know what patient flow really means why it is crucial for eye care practices.
What Is Patient Flow?
Patient flow refers to the ease with which patients can move through a doctor’s office. It is a track of their movement in the place from arrival to departure.
Optimizing patient flow is important because it helps practitioners provide quality care. Smooth and efficient patient flow helps improve patient experience and increase satisfaction. It allows you to drive more revenue by streamlining the process of looking after patients at every touchpoint during their visit.
5 Ways to Improve Patient Flow
1. Improve the Layout of Your Office
The office layout can have a major influence on the flow of patients. When setting up a practice, pay special attention to the design of the place. Consider renovating or remodeling the space if it isn’t very patient-friendly in terms of the physical layout.
In an ideal clinic, the patients do not have to double back. The reception desk is adjacent to the entrance. Then there’s the waiting area and then the examination room. This ensures a smooth flow of patients from the entrance to the exit. Have the facility to allow patients to complete any paperwork near the reception desk, rather than having them move back and forth from the waiting room.
2. Teach Your Staff How to Manage Time
All your staff members should have a deep understanding of time management and be able to implement relevant techniques effectively. This includes the receptionist, assistants, technicians, and any other person under your employment.
In some practices, one team member might have to handle multiple tasks or patients at the same time. Therefore, the entire staff should have sufficient know-how of administrative work, preliminary checks, medical follow-up, and so on. Provide your team with the proper tools they might need to work efficiently in a dynamic environment. They should have no difficulty in handling patient surges during peak hours or holidays.
3. Use Mobile Technology
Introducing electronic media such as tablets can do wonders for improving patient flow. Go digital for most, if not all, of your paperwork. As opposed to traditional physical files, tablets offer a more efficient way of keeping track of the patient’s medical history, treatment plans, and even payments.
In most cases, you will notice that patients are speedier in filling out information on a tablet rather than on paper. If you have the budget, you can even provide your assistants with tablets for faster note-taking.
4. Keep Patients Up to Date
Having patients wait in your office for long periods of time is not good for either party. Not only does it frustrates patients but is also counterproductive for your practice. Smart optometrists keep their receptionists/ assistants up to date about their schedule. If you are running late or if your daily schedule is backed up due to any reason, it’s best to inform patients accordingly.
Tell your receptionist to always keep patients in the loop by dropping them a message or making a voice call.
5. Install an EHR System
Electronic health record (EHR) systems are designed to improve managerial tasks, such as bookkeeping and performing insurance checks. They enable you to tackle them easily in-between patient visits, preventing these mundane tasks from piling up. Implementing technologies like EHR can be quite an investment, but they are likely to bring in significant returns.
Optometrists who follow the right strategies to improve patient flow at their practice are able to increase patient satisfaction, reduce operating costs, and thus, boost revenue. Follow the tips mentioned above to maintain a steady patient flow at your clinic.