Healthcare providers often struggle with the challenge of limited time to attend to all the patients that require their services. Increasing patient volume can seem like a daunting task, but there are ways to achieve it while still maintaining high-quality care.
Give your patients entry questionnaires
One way to increase patient volume is to start before the patients arrive by using entry questionnaires. Electronic health records (EHRs) can be utilized to save time and provide valuable information for office visits. With medical EHR software, the staff can identify patients who may require new prescriptions for their eyeglass frames or contact lenses, are having issues with their prescriptions, or those who have been experiencing recurring chronic eye health problems.
By sending entry questionnaires to selected patients before their appointment, staff members can better understand their conditions and needs. Using these questionnaire responses, staff members can personalize appointment lengths depending on the patient’s concerns and whether they have issues that require more in-depth care and longer appointments.
By knowing these details, the staff can better schedule appointments of the appropriate length, minimizing the likelihood of delays and cancellations for other patients. This approach not only increases patient volume but also improves patient care and satisfaction.
EHR and PM system customization
In addition to the previously discussed approach, healthcare staff can leverage medical EHR and optical practice management (PM) systems in other ways to optimize their practice.
One effective method is customizing EHR and PM systems to suit the practice’s specific needs. Optometry EHR systems can often be combined with PM systems, allowing practices to simplify their management processes and provide a better overall experience.
For instance, EHR records could be used to indicate a patient’s last visit date and whether they’re due for another check-up. By integrating optical practice management software, the system could automatically send a text or email reminder to such patients and include links that allow the, to schedule the appointment on their own time. Once these appointments are booked, the PM system could send patients text reminders to ensure they attend their scheduled visits.
Encouraging patients to schedule their visits online is convenient for them and also allows staff members more time to focus on other matters in the practice.
Cultivate a cross-trained staff
Working together with staff members is a crucial strategy to increase patient volume and keep operations running smoothly, especially during staffing shortages. Cross-training, in particular, is an effective method of training employees to perform multiple roles in the practice rather than only the specific jobs they were hired for.
Since medical practices require several individuals to operate, if someone is absent or out sick, their work and responsibilities still need to be completed. If only one staff member is trained in these areas, absences can delay productivity for the entire practice. However, by training employees to perform their colleagues’ duties in addition to their own, practices can ensure that their daily work is done, regardless of who is available.
Consider hiring additional employees
Another solution to increase patient volume could be hiring additional employees, including individuals with roles like scribes. Medical scribes serve as personal assistants for healthcare providers, performing various administrative duties to support medical professionals.
Scribes can help streamline the workflow of a practice by using electronic health records (EHRs) to gather patient information before appointments, recording interactions between staff and patients during appointments, and inputting updated data in EHR systems after appointments. By handling administrative tasks, scribes can free up staff members’ time to focus on seeing more patients instead of organizing data and paperwork.
Utilize feedback from patients
Having patients complete post-appointment surveys is another creative way to increase patient volume in your practice. There are several methods to gather feedback from your patients. A few of them include asking patients to visit a website and complete an anonymous survey, providing post-appointment surveys at checkout, or even sending surveys through the mail.
The questionnaires can include various inquiries such as the patient’s likes and dislikes about the practice, suggestions for improvement, and ratings on how well the practice fulfills patients’ needs in various capacities. Providing questionnaires to patients eliminates the need to spend valuable appointment time answering these questions when both the patient and staff are on limited time constraints.
While collecting feedback through questionnaires might require some effort, it provides valuable insights into patients’ perceptions of the practice and its staff. Eye care providers can use this information to solve issues before they worsen and prevent future problems, saving practices time and money in the long run and enabling more time to be directed toward the patient.
At the end of the day, your primary focus as an eyecare professional is to provide quality care and patient experience. Having effective management practices allows you not only to serve your existing patients better, but also to increase your practice’s ability to see more patients.
Updating your inventory is a great place to start if you’re looking for other ways to improve your practice. At A&A Optical, we provide hundreds of eyeglass frame designs to suit the needs and personal tastes of each and every client. With frames from quality retailers like Aéropostale, Cremieux, and RACHEL Rachel Roy, you know that your providing your patients with the best products possible. If you’d like to learn more about bringing A&A to your practice, click here.