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4 Tricks for Pulling Your Optical Practice Out of a Rut

Quarterbacks fall into throwing slumps. Golfers fall into putting slumps. And small businesses can fall into productivity slumps. It's not uncommon for a small business to run into a slower than normal quarter. There are a lot of things that could cause a rut in your eyecare practice. Employees taking a lot of back-to-back vacation time in the summer, or the holidays at the end of the year are both a couple of instances where your practice might experience decreased productivity.

You might be able to anticipate a slump, and in those cases we have a few suggestions of things that you and your staff can do to quickly avert your practice from falling into a rut.

How to Create the Perfect Patient Recall Message with Your Optometry Software

Patient recall is the best way to bring patients back into your practice and keep your schedule full. But manually sending out reminders or calling patients takes valuable time away from your front desk staff. In today's busy world, automated recall is the way to go. Patient recall systems can be integrated into your optometry software where you can customize your message and trust that the system will take care of the rest. Most systems can send reminders to your patients through text, phone, email, or postcard, so you can choose the method that is best for the patient. But there is an art to creating a good message that will bring patients back into your office, so let's look at a few different things that will help you create the best message for your patients.

Using Your Optometry Software to Create a Patient Recall Message

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Have a Purpose

When you send out a message to you patients, you should be clear as to what your message is. Keep it short and simple with strong keywords (most people won't read through an entire message, especially in email or mail). Get to the point quickly with direct wording.

A Call-to-Action (CTA) is Important

You're sending out your recall message for a reason; to get your patients to schedule their appointments. That needs to be clear in your CTA. Find a way to make your CTA stand out whether it means using bold or larger text, or changing up the font color. Your call-to-action should be easy to find in your message.

Using Your Practice Management System to Avoid No-Show and Late Patients

Keeping your office on schedule involves more than just careful planning on your staff's part. Late and no-show patients can set a perfect schedule behind, stressing out your staff and causing your on time patients to wait longer. It's frustrating to know that those most affected by late and no-show patients are your patients who actually do show up on time, and your hard working staff. While there isn't a way to completely eliminate this problem, there are some practice management system tips you can use to reduce the number of late and no-show patients in your practice.

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Have a Policy

If you are utilizing a patient portal and practice management system to allow patients to fill out pre-appointment paperwork ahead of time, be sure to include a late and no-show policy. This policy should be easy for your patients to understand, and can be as strict or as flexible, as your practice can handle. You might consider having a late or no-show fee if patients don't provide cancellation notification at least 24 hours ahead of their scheduled appointment. When money is involved, people tend to have more incentive to follow through. Another idea is to require your patients to reschedule if they are more than 15 minutes late to an appointment; this will help your practice from getting too far behind schedule if a patient shows up way too late.

Not Using Patient Recall and Other Ways You Could be Costing Your Practice Money

Budgets and spreadsheets are great for managing the financial aspects of your practice, but there are some hidden areas that those spreadsheets don’t cover that could be costing your practice money. You may think that you’re managing your money efficiently, but it is always best to know for sure. So keep reading to see if your practice has fallen victim to any of these money mishaps.

undefinedFailing to Utilize Patient Recall & Other Money Mistakes Your Practice Could be Making

You Haven't been Looking at Your Numbers

It is great to hit your target numbers in your budget and profits each year, but it isn’t enough for those values to just stay consistent. The important benchmarks in your practice should be improving each year. Take the time to compare this year’s numbers to last year’s to really see how your practice is doing, and get in the habit of comparing these numbers over a quarterly or monthly basis. Some important benchmarks to look out for are chair costs, inventory turnover, and optical capture rate.

You're Purchasing Add on Software

If your practice management and EHR system isn’t an all-in-one solution, you could be costing your practice. Your system should come equipped with things like patient recall, ePrescribing, and code verification. That way you aren’t costing your practice extra money by purchasing those features as add-ons later on.

Using Patient Recall with Your Practice Management System

We often spend time discussing how utilizing your practice management system can help offer more efficient care when patients are in your office during an appointment, but what about utilizing it to communicate with patients when they are not in your office? Getting patients back in your office is one of the most important things your practice does, and it is often necessary to remind your patients to do things like create their annual appointments, because people get busy throughout the year and tend to forget. By choosing a practice management solution that has patient recall and reminders built in, this patient communication task can become a lot easier.

Depending on your practice management system, it might come with patient recall built right in, which means no additional costs or integrations for you!

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