Every business has a set of statistical ratios that help govern successful business performance. Working in optometry practice management over the years, we have conducted numerous studies on how patients should spend their time inside an office to achieve the best combination of positive patient experience and optimal business results. Here is a rule for improving performance in an optometry practice. We call it the 60 – 40 – 10 Rule of optometry and we developed the rule after conducting regression analysis in over 400 practices across the US.and Canada. Although the 60-40-10 rule applies directly to optometry pra tice management, these types of time-based ratios are present in all forms of private practice.
60 Minutes From Door-to-Door
Providing a 60-minute experience from check-in to check-out optimizes the patient experience, and improves the likelihood of receiving positive patient reviews. People divide their daily tasks into hour and half hour buckets. It is how they run their schedule. If you look at anyone’s schedule throughout the day, you will see that tasks, and meetings are commonly divided up into 30 and 60-minute segments. Setting up an appointment for an eye exam is no exception. Most patients are expecting their visit to the office to fit between numerous other hour long buckets that fill up their day. Exceeding this hour long expectation is an all too common occurrence in optometry today. In fact, the average national door to door time in optometry practices is about 74 minutes.
40 Minutes From Door-to-Dispensary
The amount of time a patient spends from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they get to the dispensary is a critical component of their experience. Because a patient is thinking about their day in hour increments, their mental clock starts telling them that they don’t have enough time to make a good purchasing decision when they start to approach the 40-minute mark in the office. Our studies show that if patients take longer than 40 minutes to reach the dispensary, the risk of a patient walking out without a purchase increases by about 30%. Furthermore, if you are lucky and the patient returns to purchase from you at a later date, they typically spend about 25% less than they would have spent on the day of their exam. This is because the patient will not remember the recommendation they received from the doctor on the day of the visit.
10 Minutes or Less of Total Waiting Time
Patients do not like waiting. If you do not think 10 minutes of waiting is a big deal, just sit in a dark exam room for 10 minutes — it feels like a really long time. Entertaining patients with educational videos, electronic devices, or magazines is only a band aid. Patients that wait for longer than 10 minutes are two times more likely to leave a negative review online. Our studies show that the average practice in the United Stated loses about $15 of revenue potential in the dispensary for every minute of patient waiting that occurs in the office. That is a lot of potential increase in capture rate and revenue per patient.
Read this infographic for more interesting statistics on the 60-40-10 rule.