SAN FRANCISCO – Eye care practitioners can see more patients in their practices by better utilizing technicians and technologies, according to a speaker here at the Integrated Ophthalmic Managed Eyecare Delivery program of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery meeting.
Derek A. Preece, MBA, told attendees that about 17 minutes of a typical 25-minute eye exam can be done by a technician.
“If a doctor does everything himself or herself, you can do 18 exams in a day,” he said. “If techs do a large portion of the exam, the doctor can do 50 exams per day. If you think about technology and reimbursement, you have to go in that direction.”
To further follow this line of thinking, a practice would need three techs per doctor and a minimum of five work-up spaces, he said.
Some practices are having patients register online prior to their appointment; others use kiosks in-office.
“It saves front office staff time,” Preece said.
An electronic health records system can be used to determine how much time doctors are spending with patients, he continued.
“Once you figure this out, you can design a much better patient flow,” Preece said. “The shorter time a patient is in your office with an exam, the more time they’ll spend in your optical. Your parking lot won’t be as full because patients won’t be staying as long. Lean management looks at every process and figures out how to make it as efficient as possible.”
Practitioners who still cannot meet demand can consider adding an ophthalmologist or optometrist.
“We’re going to need to integrate to meet demand for patients in the coming years,” Preece concluded.