Electronic Medical Records Transition

Electronic Medical Records Transition

It seems like a lot of practices are now getting on the EMR bandwagon. We did this a couple of years ago and what we found might interest you.

The amount of complexity going along with EMR  is either thrilling or massively frustrating, depending upon your interest in such things.

We have had a number of practices approach us on this  At the moment due to staffing and internal expansion, we can’t solicit more EMR customers.

As it stands, we might be able to run other practices or buy them out because of the complexity of running a modern practice.

Two of our two EMR customers have approached us to run/ buy their practice. One we have a contract and will start this month.

Do You Have The Wrong People?

Do You Have The Wrong People?

One of my old clients, when asked how many people he had working for him would think for a moment and then quip, “Oh, about half.”

Yes, there are some staff who are not trainable. In fact, they are actually not employable! Yet you may have some of them “working” for you, or at least taking your money.

In the system of management we use, personnel are divided into 3 categories: The WILLING, the DEFIANT NEGATIVE and the WHOLLY SHIFTLESS. How do you identify these?

Starting with the defiant negative, this is a person who says or acts out “NO.” In some cases they seem very nice and say, “yes, yes, yes.” But you can’t get them to do the task you are asking them to do. Whatever the mouth says doesn’t connect with the real world.

In some cases they have lots of reasons why whatever you want done can’t be done or shouldn’t be done. They give you all the reasons they can’t make recall calls or send out insurance forms, and then when you go in with your next patient, they go back to watching their YouTube video.

Some people are completely shiftless. They just don’t want to work. They waste your time, in some cases they use up all their sick time and are very unreliable. Some practices are stuck with this kind of personnel. And they tend to spoil the morale and production of the rest of your staff.

I have seen an extreme example of this in two practices recently. In one practice, they were stealing about $7,000 worth of frames a month. In another, they embezzled over $39,000 in the last year.

You know the lifestyle that you’ve worked so hard to earn with all that investment of time, effort and risk. Want to know where it’s going? Maybe you have hired the wrong people.

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How to Train Your Staff

How to Train Your Staff

So you have staff problems? Your staff is not performing you hired them for. You show them how to do it and they only do it when nagged or watched.

There is a principle called the “irreducible minimum.” A person on a job tends to drop the less visible tasks and only do those things they absolutely have to do. If they did any less, they’d get fired.

You hire someone to hold the front desk, to welcome patients, do recalls, follow up on insurance and another two dozen tasks. They sit at the reception desk text or email their friends. If they did any less the patients would never arrive in your chair. Business begins to slip. What do you do?

One important tip is to ensure that the staff actually understand the words and terms of optometry and for each piece of equipment they operate. We have lists compiled that can assist in this. Even veteran staff often have lots that they don’t understand and this gets in the way of their ability to do their functions and handle patients properly. Whatever system you use to train you staff, this tip is of critical importance.

There are 2 right ways to train your staff and an infinity of wrong ones.

If you have experienced great difficulty in getting staff to perform, if you have to issue a constant stream of orders, if your staff still screw it up even after they’re “trained” then you have discovered some of the wrong ways to train them.

Why not give us a call and discuss your situation and see if there is a simple, straight forward way to improve it and bring about a practice that works the way you’d really like it to work.

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Why We Are Different

Why We Are Different

The vast majority of optometrists have so little actual training in running a business or professional practice that it’s a wonder they do as well as they do. In fact, if you had that little training in optometry, it would be impossible for you to practice.

The result is that even in practices that run pretty well, there are dozens of petty annoyances and problems that crop up continually. A lot of this centers around staff and their weaknesses.

There are slow seasons every year when you lose $500-$2,000 per day in production because there are no patients in the chair. This comes right off your bottom line and is lost income you can never recover.

Your staff know how to re-confirm patients and you’ve told them to do so. But they do only a fair job at it and you lose money every day from patients who don’t show.

It’s hard to find good help. With all the unemployment there are 6 people looking for every job, but the quality available today is shockingly poor. How do you find the right person?

You hire what you think are good, loyal staff, using your “common sense” and gut feeling. But by my estimate, employee theft or embezzlement are major problems in 1 out of 3 practices, and poor employee performance is a problem in almost every practice in America.

You want to replace a staff member, but doing so is very costly, even when it is done smoothly. The cost of the ads, the training, the lost business because of rookie errors.

Sometimes you have to hire 2 or 3 people before you find the right one.

Some of it is attributable to the doctor and some is a problem with staff and lack of know-how to fix these issues.

What is the actual cost to a practice to let these things go unaddressed and unhandled day-after-day, year-after-year for the life of the practice?

This is where having a Certified Master Consultant to guide you through can pay off in spades. Not only can you fix the problem you have now in a smoother, less costly manner, but you learn how to manage and control your business from a trained professional.


A Successful Journey Requires a Destination AND a Good Map!

A Successful Journey Requires a Destination AND a Good Map!

Take a moment and imagine your business as a journey. You start off on a journey with a clear mind of the direction you intend to head in, and your likely destination, you prepare, gather what you’ll need, decide the best course and do what it takes to arrive there. Running your optometry practice is exactly the same.

The opposite is also true. Except in rare instances, you wouldn’t leave on a journey without knowing your destination or direction, you wouldn’t ignore preparation till you were on the road, and usually you stay true to the path you’re walking. You shouldn’t run your optometry practice without goals, or knowing where you want to end up, or what each leg of the journey will most likely look like. Goals are an essential part of every business.

Firm, realistic, known goals act like a compass, always drawing you back to a certain path that you, at some point long ago or even recently, determined you should pursue. They act as a mountain in the distance for you to work toward. But not only do they serve to keep you on-track and working, they also work to focus the attention and direction of your team.

For a practice to truly thrive, each member of the organization must acknowledge the goal of the group and realize their part in achieving that goal. If you think the practice’s goal is “A”, your receptionist thinks it’s “B”, your bookkeeper thinks it’s “C” and your vendors think it’s “D”, you can be sure you won’t arrive at ANY of those destinations!

Goals for the organization must be made known to all members of the group. They must be achievable, realistic and concrete.That way you can be sure the group will act as one unit towards success for everyone. This is not some abstract idea, it’s a real, concrete aspect of running a successful business: everyone in the business having the same, concrete goals for the practice.

Can you say that your practice, and everyone in it, is pursuing the same goal? And no, “profit” is not concrete enough. Goals are an essential element of running a practice. There are ways to clearly define your goals and to go about achieving them. At Vision Practice Management, we know them all and how to teach them. We are ready to get your business to the place it needs to be, setting and achieving goals for your practice.

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How to Create the Ideal Practice

How to Create the Ideal Practice

Do you want to have and maintain an ideal, high-profit optometric practice with lots of happy patients and staff? If so, your first step is to have a clear vision of EXACTLY how that looks.

Why? Consider this. Just like with a patient’s vision, when something goes wrong, it may or may not be simple to fix. The longer it’s been going wrong the more difficult it can be to correct.

Just like having patients do an annual exam, there is a best way to get early warning that something is going wrong – and that is to know how it SHOULD be. How else could you spot when something is NOT right except that you already know what “right” is.

Imagine you’d never seen a percolator coffee pot before, and someone set one down in front of you and asked if it was broken – if you don’t know what the proper functioning of that coffee pot is, you might think it’s broken because of the strange noises and sights it makes while working. Or if you don’t know what good coffee tastes like, you might think it is working fine despite terrible coffee coming out.

So you need to know how your practice SHOULD look if it were perfect, so that you can tell when it’s not perfect, and fix it so that it will be perfect. This applies on a large scale and a small one. To run a successful practice, you and everyone in your business must know how clean your bathrooms should be, how your reception area’s seating should look, etc. You must know how the entire practice should operate.

This is simple but terribly important! It has three simple steps: 1) Know how your practice SHOULD look or WOULD look in the most ideal conditions. 2) Find those things that do not coincide with #1 (called “outpoints”). 3) Figure out how to handle them so that they look like #1.

Try it! I think you’ll find it works like a charm.

Of course on a professional level we use a more detailed series of steps which involve categorizing the outpoints, assigning them to particular people or areas and figuring out WHY they are that way. Then we address them in the correct manner. In the interest of keeping this newsletter brief, we’re only dealing with the basic idea, which you can apply to remarkable results in your practice.

We have methods for visualizing the ideal scene of your practice, spotting which elements are not meeting that vision and working out proper ways to handle any aspect of the practice. At Vision Practice Management, we take great pride in helping optometrists find a way to have a really ideal practice.

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Your Staff, Your Most Valuable Asset?

Your Staff, Your Most Valuable Asset?

There may have been a time when it was possible that in order to be a successful optometrist, a doctor simply needed to know his trade and ply his medicine skillfully, and a successful practice would follow from that. But popular wisdom has been proven true: ‘times, they are changing’. With increased demands and expectations from not only patients, but also paperwork-driven, bureaucratic insurance providers, and vendors, maintaining a successful practice requires considerably more than medical know-how.

An effective, efficient staff is an absolute necessity to running and maintaining a successful practice. At first it may sound like a glib one-liner, but the fact of the matter is simple: your staff must be your most valuable asset. The reason for this is straightforward: your staff is responsible for every aspect of business that you’re delegating to them; if your staff is a headache, if they’re irresponsible and ineffective, you’ll never trust them enough to take on the truly difficult, time-intensive aspects of running your business that you shouldn’t be spending your valuable time on.

And business management, personnel development & training, everything that goes into running the people of a practice is not something that is taught to graduating optometrists! Take a moment and imagine how smoothly your practice would run if you could trust every aspect of maintaining your business besides the actual medical procedures to a member of staff. Paperwork, scheduling, payroll, maintenance, the list goes on and on. It’s not a convenience when your staff runs everything for you – it’s a necessity for a successful business!

There are simple, effective, proven methods to inspire your staff, encourage them toward efficiency, and training methods that guarantee they’ll be able to do what you need from them, in exactly the way you prefer it to be done. At Vision Practice Management, we know them and are ready to get your business to the place it needs to be with professional, responsible staff members.

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Obamacare — Good or Bad for Optometry?

Obamacare — Good or Bad for Optometry?

Debate on national health care legislation has raged for the last several years and there are some critically important points that effect optometrists. Let’s skip Fox News, CNBC or wherever you turn for your daily dose of bad news and look closer to home. Setting aside political views, how would the implementation of national health care affect your patients and your ability to make a living? (more…)