Disclosures: Magruder reports no relevant financial disclosures.
January 27, 2021
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BLOG: Office-based surgery engages staff, promotes teamwork

Disclosures: Magruder reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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Our practice was prudent and deliberate in adding office-based surgery.

We ventured into adding this service with eyes wide open on the perceived benefits. Fortunately, we learned some fortuitous lessons along the way that only reinforced that we have made the right decision for our clinical operation.

Early in 2019, we surveyed the landscape and decided that the future of ophthalmic surgery entailed transitioning cataract and other lens-based procedures to the practice setting as an alternative to an ASC or hospital. Office-based surgery (OBS) is safe and cost-effective and allows us to have more control over surgery and the overall patient experience. We partnered with a satisfactory ASC, but we were frustrated by an inability to control scheduling. Additionally, our patients were at the behest of a set of rules and protocols we had no power to change.

G. Brock Magruder Jr.

All in all, sending patients to an ASC to have cataract surgery did not align with the model of a boutique refractive surgery practice we were trying to build. On the other hand, we believed that office-based cataract surgery would be a way we could offer even better individualized and personalized care.

Ultimately, we added OBS for the sake of patients. In the time since implementation, we have recognized myriad benefits for our staff, as well.

We worked with iOR Partners to implement office-based surgery, and a critical aspect of the onboarding was training our existing staff, so there was no need to hire a new team for surgical cases. That was an immediate benefit from leadership’s perspective because we enjoy working with the team we have assembled and trust they will help provide excellent care for patients. I will admit that the trust really got tested as we went through the training process during the pandemic with all of its additional stresses. However — and this is a credit to our staff — we found that they welcomed the opportunity to learn new skills because it helped advance their career opportunities and gave them a new project to work on during the COVID shutdown.

I recently surveyed the staff in my office to find out what they thought of OBS. I’m pleased to report their OBS experience made them feel more empowered, with a greater connection to patients and an appreciation for the immediate feedback loop, and that they have additional developmental opportunities within the practice.

The practice wins when the staff finds meaning and purpose in a new service like OBS, which helps contribute to the success of the entire operation. Less obvious, though, is that patients feel more comfortable when the staff feels engaged. Ultimately, by bringing lens-based surgery into the office, we can grow our revenue stream and positively engage staff while ensuring the patient will have a positive and consistent experience from initial consultation to post-surgery follow-up.