January 8, 2015 – Olympia, Washington After previously working with Tony Milian and Chuck Smith, Practice CoPilot co-owners, Olympia Vision Clinic knew just where to turn when their Olympia and Lacey offices needed some fine-tuning. With the Clinic experiencing growth, the addition of two new doctors and a continuous growth in staff members, it was time to streamline their operations again. For more than three decades, Olympia Vision Clinic, owned by Dr. Dale Tosland, has been providing its patients with quality and dependable eye care. For almost a third of that time, Operations Manager, Susan Johnson has been there to oversee the Olympia and Lacey offices’ daily procedures. Both in agreement, Johnson and Tosland knew it was time to call on the Lean experts at Practice CoPilot.
Since Practice CoPilot’s consultants were no stranger to Olympia Vision Clinic, their familiarity with Olympia’s goals and daily operations allowed for a smooth assessment of both offices. After a few days of observation at each office, both offices were shut down in order for the Olympia Vision Clinic team to meet with Practice CoPilot. Practice CoPilot consultants broke everyone up into groups and handed each group a problem the office was facing with the task to solve the issue. They would pop into each group to collaborate as well as offer helpful hints and suggestions. Johnson found this team oriented exercise especially rewarding. “During the whole process, the consultants never came across as dictating. They had great insight and shed a totally different light on each issue. They made you see the problem with their eyes as opposed to a person who is in the office day in and day out.”
One of the main difficulties facing Olympia was their phone line that had no extension options. “Our phones had become a major issue. Not only was our front desk bombarded with phone calls at both of our offices constantly during the workday, but also during our staff meetings even before our normal business hours, the phones would still be ringing off the hook with patient questions. The calls were causing unnecessary interruptions throughout the entire day,” declared Johnson. The solution? A call center in Lacey. Having one call center would centralize the scheduling for both offices. The call center made scheduling more consistent and improved how the scheduling template was being used. The call center also alleviated basic questions from patients like location and hours, which could now be easily answered with a phone tree. Front desk staff could now be more focused on checking patients in.
“Our productivity increased by 10% and incoming calls decreased by 25% with the new automated phone system,” said Johnson. Many practices are under the preconceived notion that automated systems annoy patients and make them stop calling. However, their objective is to move the calls to the right person within the practice to reduce the amount of busy work the front desk has to perform.
Along with adding the new phone system, Practice Copilot developed a script to help the front desk capture more email addresses and cell phone numbers. These were critical items to collect in order for Olympia Vision Clinic to use their CRM to send out more confirmations via text and email rather than having the front desk spend significant amounts of time calling for confirmations. Another issue Olympia was challenged with was the growing demand at their Lacey office where they were consistently short on technician support. A schedule of rotations was setup for the technicians between both offices. One technician head from the Olympia office was added to the Lacey office. The rotation schedule helped make the technician work more consistent across both offices as well as ensure that each technician had an opportunity to work with a different doctor every couple of days throughout their rotation.
Another major improvement implemented by Practice CoPilot was on the schedule for dispensing appointments in optical. Previously, when glasses were ready, the opticians would call patients letting them know that their glasses were in. In turn, the patients would then show up at an unannounced time that was of their convenience. This type of unplanned scheduling was now a thing of the past. Now as soon as the patient completed their glasses purchase, they would be provided with a dispensing appointment on the calendar 10 days out. This appointment would be when the patient would come in and pick up their glasses. This new scheduling practice also had the added benefit of reducing incoming calls because patients weren’t calling in to see if their glasses were ready to be picked up.
All of these changes to the workflow at Olympia Vision Clinic allowed for a more streamlined process at both offices from the start to the end of the workday; and even the time in between. Johnson and Tosland were pleasantly satisfied with all of the significant improvements Practice CoPilot had successfully implemented on Olympia Vision Clinic.
“I really can’t say enough about Practice CoPilot. I would recommend them to any office that is looking to streamline their operations from start to finish. They have the expertise and experience to help your business succeed.”