Insights From Our Editors

Why Efficiency is Critical & 7 Ways Our Practice Improved It

Members of Dr. Sorrenson's front-desk team. Dr. Sorrenson says the efficiency is one of the practice's core values. Each team member understands their role in keeping the patient experience as efficient and friction-free as possible.

Members of Dr. Sorrenson’s front-desk team holding notices of privacy practices for patients. Dr. Sorrenson says efficiency is one of the practice’s core values. Each team member understands their role in keeping the patient experience as efficient and friction-free as possible.

Giving your practice an efficiency boost.

By Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

May 1, 2024

Efficiency is incredibly important in our practice. It is even one of our core values!

Efficiency isn’t just about getting things done quickly though. It’s about streamlining processes to enhance both the employee experience and create an “effortless experience” for the patient (see previous column).

Here, I delve into why efficiencies are important and seven ways we improved ours.

Employee Job Satisfaction

First and foremost, efficiencies can significantly impact the job satisfaction of employees. When tasks are redundant or unimportant, it can lead to frustration and disengagement. By implementing efficient processes, we empower our team to focus on tasks that are more meaningful and enjoyable. This not only boosts morale, but also encourages creativity and innovation.

As someone who values a positive work culture, I witnessed firsthand many times how efficiencies can make our work environment more enjoyable and rewarding. As I recommended before, break your team into groups of 3-5 and give them about 20 minutes to discuss an idea to make the office or themselves more efficient. Let them know, even if it only saves 10 seconds, that you want to hear those ideas.

Have each team relay their best idea(s) to the group at the end of the meeting or just have them write all their ideas down and give to you for you to decide what you want to focus on. The next meeting would be the plan on: what we are going to implement, why we are implementing it and what are the potential problems we might experience in implementing it?

Effortless Experience for Patients

An efficient practice also translates into a seamless and effortless experience for our patients. Studies have consistently shown that patients appreciate simplicity and convenience. When their journey through our practice is smooth and hassle-free, they are more likely to become loyal patients. Efficiency isn’t just about speed; it’s about ensuring every interaction with our patients is optimized for their comfort and satisfaction and that there is no “friction.”

Consider the patient’s perspective during their visit. From the moment they walk in, to the completion of their eye exam, every step should be orchestrated with efficiency in mind.

Efficiently conducting histories, performing preliminary exam workups and navigating easily through contact lens or glasses ordering not only saves time, but enhances the overall patient experience. It shows that we value their time and prioritize their needs. This is another good meeting break-out topic to discuss with your staff. Last time we did it, there was definitely a consensus on what caused our patients the most friction!

See More Patients

Beyond enhancing the patient experience, being efficient enables our office to see more patients, which directly impacts profitability. By optimizing our processes, we can serve a larger volume of patients without compromising on quality. This not only drives revenue; it also strengthens our reputation as a reliable and accessible optometric practice.

Here are seven examples of actions we took in our practice that made us more efficient:

  1. Reducing the # of history questions. (Do you really need to know if the grandma had myopia?? 🙂)
  2. Prepping the patients’ charts the day before for a speedy check-in. (see previous article)
  3. Prepping the optical bags with cleaner, cloth, chocolate, care card, tissue paper and hanging them up ready to go for dispenses. (every minute counts and it makes us look like we are “on-the-ball”)
  4. AIMS inventory system (15 minutes to do a complete inventory AND one scan inputs frame data and pricing for each sale)
  5. Cqueue for optician/technician assistance. (see previous article)
  6. Pre-selection of frames by patient online, which saves approximately 15 minutes of frame-styling time. (My Frame Gallery, Optify, etc.)
  7. Integration of everything possible! I think “eliminating” is the best way to become more efficient, but man, having things integrated is super-important too! I guess that is eliminating, too, as it eliminates keystrokes, etc. 😁

In conclusion, efficiency is not merely a buzzword; it is a fundamental aspect of a successful optometric practice. Without efficiencies, you can’t take your practice to the next level.

By prioritizing efficiencies, we can create a more enjoyable work environment for our team, deliver exceptional experiences for our patients and drive profitability for our practice. It is a WIN/WIN/WIN!!!  👏

Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO, is president of Lakeline Vision Source in Cedar Park, Texas, and the Professional Editor of Review of Optometric Business (ROB). To contact her:


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