When designing the schedule, you’ve got to keep in mind how long it takes to get a patient from the point of walking in the door to actually working with the optometrist. This is really important! Listen up, sometimes we see schedule templates which don’t take into account this length of time, or the time it takes once the optometrist is done to check the patient out. What can happen with a poorly designed template like this is a) either the patients aren’t ready when the optometrist is ready for the patient or b) there aren’t enough staff available to help the patient once they are ready to start looking at glasses or ordering contacts! Everyone is either waiting around or completely overwhelmed with patient needs. If you are tasked with keeping the schedule humming along, make sure that you are getting these patients in and processed as professionally, pleasantly, and quickly as possible! Even if the clinic is not ready for them, you can work with the opticians to keep the patient in process, perhaps with a pre-examination optical consultation or just a frame styling! Use any “wait time” effectively, but try to minimize it as an entire team!
Consider adjusting your confirmation process to clearly communicate to the patient their arrival time, which may be 10 to 45 minutes before they will actually see their optometrist, depending upon your template.
For our United States learners, in the US, one of the quality measures that patients report and which is used to assess optometrists’ performance rating is wait time. We want to make sure that patients understand that those 10 minutes to 45 minutes of preparation are not just waiting to see the optometrist, but, rather are essential to the entire examination process.