3 Takeaways to Help Your Eye Care Practice Thrive from the 2018 ONE User Summit
Did you attend ONE this year? If not, this is your chance to get caught up on what you missed. And if you did attend, well, you can’t be everywhere at once. Either way, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for three big takeaways from the 2018 ONE User Summit, plus practical steps to turn those takeaways into to-dos for your eye care practice.
Takeaway #1: Patients Come Second
When someone asks you “What’s it like at your practice?” do you roll your eyes and say “Oh, you know….” with a sigh? Or do you say “It’s great! We get to do what we love and have fun doing it”? If you answered the former, your practice may have a culture problem. Just like when you visit a foreign county and absorb the culture, a similar process happens in your practice every day. Your providers and staff are expressing your practice’s culture, and your patients are soaking it up—for better or for worse. The patient experience and patient satisfaction (both of growing importance) are directly related to your practice’s culture. Most of the time, the problem isn’t that a patient had a bad experience. It’s that they had a “meh” experience. Patient satisfaction and a stellar patient experience—one that they’ll want to shout from the rooftops—isn’t the result of “meh.” A “people-first” culture— treating your employees exceptionally—will motivate your staff to create winning patient experiences, according to ONE presenter Matt Jensen, MBA. “When your people are happy, they’ll make your patients happy,” he says.
KNOW WHO’S ON YOUR BUS. “First who, then what,” a concept from Jim Collins’ business classic Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, involves getting the right people in the right seats before figuring out where to drive your bus (hint: the bus is your practice). Your bus should be filled with employees who have “a heart for service [and] enjoy working for and serving others,” according to Craig Piso, PhD, another ONE presenter. Employees who are happy at work are more productive and will treat your patients better than people who are unhappy at work. Do you have staff members who are unhappy? If you do, is there anything you can do to change that? If the answer is yes, do it. Some staff engagement problems have an easy fix. Other engagement problems run deeper, inextricably linked to the staff member’s mindset. Those staff members may need a new seat on the bus, or perhaps shouldn’t be on the bus at all.
TAKE THE LONG VIEW. Chances are there are at least a few millennials working in your practice. Like it or not, a “people first” culture is what they’ve come to expect. And in a tight job market that shows no signs of loosening, it’s harder than ever to find exceptional employees. You must do everything you can to retain them—keep them on the bus. Supporting staff members’ personal and career development is one of the best things you can do to retain exceptional employees. Nurturing future leaders, fostering creativity, and giving employees the freedom to take risks—and make mistakes—will help your practice thrive. Shared leadership drives “a culture of empowerment, teamwork, and service,” explains Piso. Ignore staff development at your own risk. If you can’t consistently infuse your practice with new talent and ideas, your business will stagnate.
Takeaway #2: Measure Everything
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s all about the data. Not only can analyzing your practice’s data clue you in on how you’re doing, it also contains clues as to what you should be doing. “Data can help take the drama out of practice improvements and get everyone on the same page,” noted Rhonda Buckholtz, CPC, CPMA, CRC, CDEO, CHPSE, COPC, who led several revenue cycle-oriented sessions at ONE User Summit. Analyzing the data removes the emotion and allows you to drill down to the root causes of problems in your practice without having to assign “fault” to any one person or group. You can confront reality and create transparency, and that makes it easier to get buy-in from everyone, from key stakeholders to the staff who will be executing the new plan.
GET FAMILIAR WITH ANALYTICS. In today’s competitive healthcare market, it’s a mistake to leave success up to chance, operating on a guess or a hunch. Leveraging the data within your EHR and other software systems can help you make decisions that will fuel the growth of your practice. Unfortunately, most EHRs were not designed to organize or interpret data into useable, digestible pieces. Depending on your EHR, you may need to explore using an external vendor to make sense of your EHR’s data capabilities.
LEAD, DON’T LAG. Identify a few lead measures to track and improve. “Lead measures are the most high impact things we must accomplish. Lag measures are the details,” says Buckholtz. While lag measures show you where you’ve been, lead measures show you where you’re going. Tracking them allows you to correct course, if necessary. For example, the monthly sales report is a lag measure―you can’t do anything about it because it’s already in the past. In contrast, lead measures are indicators that will impact your lag measures. Your capture rate, for example, is a lead measure. Improving it will affect the related lag measure (total sales).
Takeaway #3: Try Something New
If you want to grow your eye care practice, you must not let fear of change hold you back. What’s your “something new?” It could be adding a scribe position to your practice to improve physician productivity and documentation. It could be renovating your practice for better patient fl ow. It could be creating and implementing a content marketing plan. One of the main goals of ONE Summit education is to provide attendees with an arsenal of concrete, actionable things they can do to improve their practice, from small tweaks to full-on overhauls.
KNOW YOUR PRACTICE, YOUR PATIENTS, AND YOUR MARKET. If your patient demographic is price-sensitive, carrying a line of expensive eye creams may not yield a high ROI. If you’re a control freak who just has to be in charge, accepting private equity investment could be tricky. The lesson? The initiative that worked for your colleague’s practice the next town over may not be right for yours. Before making a significant change to your practice, dig into the data to make sure the numbers support it. Calculate the break-even point on that new piece of equipment. Find out if your physicians write enough prescriptions to non-referred patients to support an optical dispensary. You get the idea.
THINK SMALLER. New, practice-improving initiatives don’t have to be big, expensive projects. You can even focus on doing the things you already do, but better. A new perspective is sometimes all that’s necessary to shore up the weak spots in your practice. After all, if you aren’t nailing the basics (audit-proof documentation, customer service, etc.) you won’t have a solid base to build on when you eventually decide to implement that big, expensive initiative.
The ONE User Summit
If you are looking for an ophthalmology conference or optometry conference to help bring your practice to the next level the 2019 ONE User Summit is just around the corner. Don’t miss out on an incredible speaker lineup and endless learning opportunities at the second annual ONE User Summit. Check out the schedule here!