Running a successful optometric practice requires skills that aren’t often learned in an optometry student's curriculum. From billing management to conflict resolution, these are non-optometry related skills that most optometrists develop over time. However, we think even new grads can get a jumpstart on filling their skill gap without years of experience.
Rather than learning the skills the hard way, we compiled a short list of the four basic skills an optometric practice owner needs to master to run a successful practice.
Master These Skills For Optometric Practice Success
Time is money in an optometric practice. The ability to maximize your patient schedule to efficiently and effectively see more patients throughout the day, without decreasing the quality of care, could dramatically increase your revenue.
To master your time management skills, you need to identify time constraints like duplicated data entry work, inefficient handoffs, scheduling errors, and complicated processes. After identifying time constraints, you can begin to use time management tips like automating processes and using cloud-based software to improve practice efficiency.
Try as you might, you can’t do it all. That’s why you hired an effective staff to help you accomplish tasks that you either don’t have time to do or don’t want to do. However, if you don’t know how to delegate tasks effectively, then you will end up with the headache of having to do the job yourself or forcing your staff to redo their work.
When delegating tasks, it’s important to play to your staff’s strengths, provide detailed instructions, and to give constructive feedback.
Maintaining Patient Relationships
Whether the patient is in the exam room or out on the showroom floor selecting frames, your focus should be on gaining the patient’s loyalty, and not on closing a sale. However, there will be times where the patient is unpleasant and combative over your process, prices, or services. In these instances, it’s either time to fire the patient or work on your patient relationship management skills to maintain the loyalty you built over the years and retain the patient.
If firing the difficult patient is out of the question, you need to provide optimal customer service practices to identify and resolve the cause of the situation. Here are some tips to better maintain the patient relationships in your optometric practice:
- Don’t take the situation personally
- Openly listen to the patient
- Focus on resolving the issue
- Provide honest feedback
- Accept responsibility
To run a successful business, you need to analyze data and track the performance of your efforts. In an optometric practice, it’s important to track the performance of your marketing efforts, claims management reimbursements, and more.
While tools like Google Analytics can create reports about how much web traffic your website is receiving and how visitors are accessing your page, tracking your claims performance can be a bit more difficult. However, some claims management solutions and revenue cycle management services compile your reimbursement data to give you the claims management reports you need to make money off of insurance claims. Make sure you know how to read the data to make informed decisions. Check out this post for tips on reading your claims reports.
Hear what skills your colleagues needed to build successful practices in 2020 Outlook: Advice from America's Top ODs II.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on October 2017. It has been updated for relevance and richness of content on January 2020.