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    Managing an office and optical move

    How we combined two offices and maintained patient care


    Same-day eyewear option

    Along with changing our frame selection, our optical department decided to make lens banks available to provide same-day eyewear in case of a patient emergency. Due to size restrictions at our other locations, this was not a possibility. We are firm believers (as I’m sure many of you are) that everyone should have at least one pair of backup glasses with their current prescription.

    As you know, patients sometimes disregard our recommendation, and when their glasses break, it then becomes our emergency. We are now able to make sure that the 5th grader who just broke his only pair of -5.00 D glasses will be able to get new glasses on the spot. Investigating new lens technology such as thinner index lens materials, digital lens designs, and more functional and fashionable lens compositions are always on the horizon, and we want to be the first to bring that technology to our patients.

    More space requires better communication

    Perhaps more than any of the physical space design decisions, one aspect of patient care that was going to be particularly daunting was that in a space much larger than we were accustomed to, no one could see everything. Our team would need to rely more on each other and to communicate more effectively.

    Our doctors need to trust that everything is being taken care of for each patient in the office. The reception staff has quickly become more involved with patient flow: a technician liaison guides each and every patient through her experience in our office. Simple things like color-coded folders have helped to ease the transition of new patient flow. Morning meetings are a lifeline, and an in-office communication system is essential.

    We use an instant messenger system so we are able to communicate silently throughout the day. Doctors will send staff a message if they need contact lenses pulled for a patient or if a patient is about to come out to consult with an optical staff member. The instant message allows us to be ready and gives us time to prepare that patient’s information—about a two-to-three minute window in which we can investigate insurance details or familiarize ourselves with their prescription needs.

    Next: Make it work for you

    Larissa Steinberg, CPOT
    Larissa Steinberg is the optical manager for Somerset Eye Care in North Brunswick, NJ. She has worked in the optical industry for almost ...


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