Staff Management

How to Tell if Your Staff is Productive

By Steve Sunder

April 25, 2018

Your staff is your greatest resource, and your greatest expense, taking an average of 20 percent of your total revenues, according to the Management & Business Academy. Fortunately, there are ways to measure their productivity, so you know how well they are serving patients and profitability.

Findings from the American Optometric Association’s 2016 Survey of Optometric Practice. With staff requiring such expenditures, it’s essential to know that they are all productive.

What Should I Be Measuring?
Patient Scheduling: How far out are you booked, and what is your no-show rate? Staff members are the first contact with the potential patient. They need to ensure they can schedule the patient ASAP based on the provider availability and the patient’s medical need.

If you’re not booked out far enough for profitability, or if you are rarely able to accommodate walk-ins, even on days when you should have leeway, that’s a sign that your staff may not be as productive as they could be.

Social Media Reviews & Patient Surveys: What are your patients saying about your staff on sites like Yelp and Facebook? Sometimes a review site is your first tip off that your staff is rubbing patients the wrong way, and needs additional training, or to be replaced.

In addition, the doctor should use a digital survey questionnaire, such as SurveyMonkey, that is sent to the patient after their visits. Key questions to ask would be:

• Number of rings to answer call?

• Front desk person courteous and personable and answered my questions?

• Appointment with the doctor in a reasonable time frame?

• Staff courteous, personable and knowledgeable?

• Would you recommend our office to your friends and family?

Optical Capture Rate: Every staff member has a voice with the patient to get them to the optical to fill their new Rx. There should be a standard practice talking point where the front desk staff and technicians should always be talking about filling the new prescription with your optical. If your capture rate isn’t what you want it to be, look to your own conversations with the patient in the exam room, and also the performance of your staff.

Key Performance Indicators: KPIs in the optical refer to up-sells, such as anti-reflective treatments and multiple-pair sales. A well-trained, productive staff should be able to deliver impressive KPIs.

Optical Inventory Turn Rate: This is how often any given frame on your board sells, so that a new one needs to be ordered to fill the space on the board. If your turn rate is slower than you need for optimal profitability, and the frame inventory doesn’t match your patient demographics, it could be a staff training or competency issue.

How Do I Measure All This Stuff?
Most practice management systems have what is called “production” reports, which can serve as the foundations to establish productivity benchmarks for the metrics listed above.

In addition, staff must be trained properly on the use of the practice management system to correctly document patient no-shows. In most systems there is a workflow such as a right-click, or a drop-down, menu to document patient show, no-show or appointment cancellation rates.

Measuring optical sales workflow requires each optician to tag each sale, as well as if the sale is multiple pair to the same patient. Capture rate would be the number of optical Rx sales (not multiple sales) divided by the number of refractions performed.

In the practices I’ve worked in, as well as my current clients, we establish the practice performance with KPIs, such as the no-show rate. One of my clients was encountering an exponential no-show of 52 percent! If we hadn’t established the ability to measure with the KPI, the doctor and the practice administrator would not have known this was an issue. Upon further investigation we were able to discover the problem, correct and re-measure where, over the next month or two, the no-show rate dropped drastically to 5 percent with an increase in gross revenue. Here is a chart of the metric with the calculated revenue loss:

In my own multi-location practice, a 17 percent no-show decreased to 7 percent in just two months! Let’s assume the average revenue per patient $450, and we increase the patient show rate by just 10 percent. This could be two, or more, patients per day x $450! Monthly this would be another 40 patients (2 additional patients per day x 20 clinic days) x $450.00 = $18,000.

What Can’t Be Gauged in Numbers?
There are red-flag warnings of staff unhappiness that are not always measurable by numbers. It’s significant to note staff unhappiness because there is a high correlation between unhappiness on the job and lower productivity. If you notice a higher-than-normal sick call rate, last-minute requests for paid time off, and of course, a drop in employees’ individual performance, as measured to your KPIs and objectives, you just may have an unsatisfied, unproductive employee.


Steve Sunder is a health-care consultant with over 20 years experience in the eyecare industry at a multi-location practice, and as a consultant to other practices. To contact him:  

To Top
Subscribe Today for Free...
And join more than 35,000 optometric colleagues who have made Review of Optometric Business their daily business advisor.