Patient Handover, a vital part of the patient journey
By Paul Surridge – Chief Executive, Sight Care Group
Successfully and professionally managing the patient handover can dramatically increase patient loyalty and improve bottom line profits, but how many practices really understand the power of the handover?
There’s a direct correlation between conversion or capture rates and bottom line profits. Get the handover right and a mediocre practice can transform its prospects overnight. Get it wrong, or just ignore this stage in the patient journey and you’ll limit your prospects.
Qualified Dispensing Opticians are a vital part of practice life however their level of importance and influence is further enhanced when working in close harmony with Optometrists. Even when a prescription is stable [never use the term no change this suggests to the patient that they need not spend with you] there may well be opportunities for the patient to upgrade their spectacles or consider new lenses to accommodate their lifestyle needs. The more an Optometrist spends time educating, informing, recommending, the greater the conversion rate which inexorably leads to an increase in bottom line profits. It’s not enough however for the Optometrist just to make recommendations to the patient in the chair; this should be repeated when handing over to the Dispensing Optician thereby validating the work the DO has to do.
Psychologically, the handover has more impact if this takes place in the consulting room rather than in the body of the practice, the question is how best can that be managed? The objective is to ensure that when the Optometrist is concluding the clinical part of the process, having discussed perhaps lens options and lifestyle dispensing needs the Dispensing Optician miraculously appears for the handover. In a busy practice there can be challenges in getting the timing right however the best system should be sought out, agreed and adhered to. Some practices use a discrete buzzer system where the Optometrist alerts the Dispensing Optician that the clinical session is coming to a conclusion in time for them to knock and enter the consulting room, but it won’t work for everyone