Ophthalmology Business

MAR 2014

Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.

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March 2014 • Ophthalmology Business 23 practice became even busier, and I was doing what I really wanted to do." Changing his surgery schedule also helped with this one-day process and allowed Dr. McMahan to become more efficient. By switching his surgery cases to the afternoons, it allowed for more space for surgeries and more time to see patients in the m orning who were seriously consid- ering surgery. Many of these patients would decide to go ahead with their surgeries on the same day, and this was particularly attractive for those traveling long distances. "Now when patients call to schedule a consultation, we offer them the option of having 'one visit is it,'" Dr. McMahan said. They can take or leave this option, and Dr. McMahan said the system has continued to improve over the years to make the process even more efficient. Cross-trained employees In the practice, the experience and training of technicians is incredibly important. "Our office is divided into three separate pods: cataract, retina, and cornea/plastics, with four teams plus special testing that exists on its own," Dr. McMahan said. "Each person has a specific team he/she is responsible to." Dr. McMahan said all techni- cians have basic skills like being able to check vision, get general history, and do exams. "We require all techs to pass the home study exam within two months and be certified at one- year eligibility," he said. Mr. Crawford said that each pod is set up with its own waiting area, testing rooms, exam lanes, and nurs- ing station. The central hub for the practice has doors leading to each of the separate pods. This means that the 30 or so technicians in the office are divided up into specialty teams. Each techni- cian is basically a subspecialist in his own right, Mr. Crawford said. The physician has to have 100% confidence in his staff because physi- cians see so many patients; from an efficiency perspective it's not con- ducive to spend 20 minutes talking about conditions, drops, vitamins, etc., Mr. Crawford said. Technicians are trained to spend as much time as p ossible with the patients to ensure they are obtaining all the informa- tion and can convey this to the doc- tor. iPads for records iPads have become a very important patient tool and way to keep up with EHR at Southern Eye Center. Mr. Crawford said that the practice uses Management Plus (Salt Lake City), and has its own iPad app, designed by its software programmer, which works directly with Management Plus. All the consent forms, patient questionnaires, insurance informa- tion, etc., can be entered on the iPads, which in turn deliver this information to the practice's EHR. Although there was some debate on how secure an iPad is for this information, Mr. Crawford said they are all protected with the practice's Wi-Fi and security measures and are only equipped to handle one patient at a time, so there is no residual information left once a patient enters his or her information. He said the practice has never had an iPad broken or stolen, and viewing options like big fonts and big touch boxes make it easier for patients to see and enter the data with ease. Dr. McMahan said the use of iPads helps maximize efficiency because it has the patient entering personal information, rather than leaving this to the doctor or staff to transfer into the practice's electronic records. "We were initially concerned that many of our patients could not use the iPads, but our programmer prepared a short video demonstrat- ing how to use the iPad, which patients see first," Dr. McMahan said. After each correct answer, a big eye winks at the patient before proceed- ing to the next question, he said. "When the doctor is through with the exam, the history and physical and informed consent are c ompleted and signed by patients on the iPad before this is downloaded directly to the ASC," Dr. McMahan said. "Everything is seamless. No paper is used at all." OD referrals "We have a very large referral base," Mr. Crawford said. "We're the only multi-subspecialty practice in the southern part of the state." He said this includes about 40 optometrists that recommend patients on a routine basis, and he estimated that the practice co-manages with about 20 of those. The practice keeps up a relation- ship with the optometrists who pro- vide referrals by doing continuing education and offering biannual seminars. Mr. Crawford said this is very important to nurture the relationship with the ODs. Included in his job are frequent visits to optometrists' offices. He travels to different regions to visit and check in. "Because we don't do glasses exams or routine checkups, all our patients are referred to an OD postop for those services," Dr. McMahan said. "So our ODs not only get the patients they send, but they also get new patients to care for from then on." The practice works hard to maintain relationships with ODs and recognizes the important role they play in patient outcomes. OB Contact information Crawford: ccrawford@southerneyecenter.com McMahan: lmcmahan@southerneyecenter.com 20-28_OB March 2104-DL_Layout 1 2/19/14 11:09 AM Page 23

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