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Practice Management Tips

We don’t have to tell you that running an optometry practice is challenging work. Aside from traditional medical practice, there is the continued work of running and growing your business. In this edition of Foresight, we’re going to share some helpful tips to make your business more efficient, so you focus on our primary objective of patient care.

Inventory Management

If your optometry practice is like most, a non-trivial source of revenue for you is selling eye wear and contact lenses. Inventory management can be challenging, and most practices implement various degrees of reconciliation. Our first tip is to consider your process and ask yourself if your team is taking extra steps.  

For example, if you’re keeping track of your inventory in a database or spreadsheet, but your team is keeping written records as they take stock to give to patients, you’re duplicating the time required to track inventory accurately. Written records also have the habit of getting misplaced, damaged, or being difficult to read. This leads to wasted time through the staff time of digitizing written documents and the inevitable inventory audits that come with correcting a manual inventory process.

Instead, consider investing in a cheap tablet and moving your inventory to a digital spreadsheet like Google Docs. The tablet can be mounted on or near the stock, or if your practice is large enough, given to staff to have on hand as they remove items. You can have them make direct edits to the overall inventory through the spreadsheet. If you have some extra time to invest, you could get creative and build a simple interface into the database to allow your team to hit buttons (like “-1” or “+1”) to adjust inventory levels automatically and further reduce the potential for human error.

This is a simple example, but it illustrates a way of thinking about your practice to make it more efficient and reduce wasted time duplicating tasks.

Automating Routine Work

As we enter an era of competing more directly with eye care firms whose primary objective is profits with patient care a distant second, the independent practice must recognize that we need to be continually focusing on efficiencies.

One practice we recommend is talking to your staff about the processes they are involved with that are repetitive and similar. Are they doing the same thing over and over again with a little variation? If so, it may be an excellent target for automation.

Automating your tasks could be as simple as a quick google search for some existing software or a custom solution that may require an initial investment but will likely save money in the long run. Anything that can be repeated can be expressed in a formula, any formula can be programmed into software. While it’s difficult to give direct suggestions about what can be automated in your practice taking the time to connect with your team about their routine is one of the fastest pathways to discovering time-wasting activities that may have a technical solution.  

The more you automate, the more you and your team can focus on generating new business, connecting with your existing patient base, and improving your patient experience. Our advantage as independent practices is our patient care and service levels, both of which are supported by constant evaluation of our process and practice.

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