AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 28

MAR/APR 18 // COVER FEATURE

"

"Success
doesn't
happen by
accident."
-Andrew

Maller, MBA,
COE, BSM
Consulting

28

is COO and practice administrator of Evergreen Eye
Center in Seattle.
To know if a practice is growing or not, "I can't
emphasize enough the importance of knowing where
we are relative to our peers, benchmarking ourselves,
and following our internal benchmarks over time," said
Joseph Theine, MBA, COE, practice administrator at
Four Corners Eye Clinic in Durango, Colo. "I don't
know how one would plan a business without that as
a foundation for thinking about the future and how to
measure your success against your goals."
The cost of efforts to improve and innovate can get out
of control if not monitored closely, and investing in new
services can be risky, according to Karen Spencer, CEO of
Virginia Eye Consultants in Virginia Beach, Va. "Monitoring benchmarks and closely planning and monitoring
anything new is critical to the practice success." (See the
sidebar, "Resource: ASOAnalytics," to learn about ASOA's
data benchmarking and reporting service.)
In line with Maller's findings, physician productivity
is the focus for administrator Sandra Barrett, COE,
CPSS, and her team at George, Strickler & Lazer, The
Eye MDs, based in Parkersburg, W.V. They look for
outliers among their physicians based on measurements
such as ratios of conversion to lifestyle lenses and appointments scheduled and seen per doctor.
At Spencer's practice in Virginia Beach, the saying is,
"The doctor should 'do only that which the doctor must
do' and the support team takes care of the rest." Her staff
protects providers' time, allowing them to be efficient
and productive. "We invest in our team so that they are
trained and set up for success in strong support of our providers," Spencer said. Emphasis on the value of staff also
is central to Dan Chambers' team at Key-Whitman Eye
Center in Dallas. "We believe in effectively utilizing our
physicians, our physician extenders-optometrists-in
the integrative eyecare, as well as our technicians," he said.
Smith's practice uses the BSM monthly benchmarking report to track overhead or operating expense
ratio, particularly non-physician payroll and ratio of
full-time support staff to full-time doctor. A weekly
dashboard lets Smith calculate Evergreen's fill rate and
utilization-how many appointments they filled and
scheduled, and how many they actually saw.
Barrett uses time studies to find creative ways to
increase revenue, in part to compensate for the impact of
Medicare cuts over the years. She looks for bottlenecks:
"Are patients sitting in our waiting room too long? Do we
need another machine to help us move this out? It's not
always a personnel issue." The change to electronic health

AE // Mar/Apr 18

records has made time studies simpler, adding time stamps
as patients move through phases of their visit.
Some practice leaders point to other important
benchmarks. Theine uses new-patient numbers to help
the practice plan and prepare to serve patients. "If there's
not a consistent flow of new patients, that doesn't bode
well for the future of the practice," he said. He also looks
to leading indicators that relate to patient satisfaction
and referral sources. This information allows him and his
staff to "navigate the ship toward the destination and be
a little bit more nimble," Theine said.
HITTING THE MARK
Setting realistic goals for the practice establishes that
destination. Under Chambers' leadership, Key-Whitman adheres to a company-wide strategic vision. "We
jointly set financial goals and statistical goals for the
doctors," he said, which the doctors must approve.
Administratively, his goal is "to execute and support
the number of patients physicians can see, the surgical
volume they want, and the technology they want to
expand into." To make sure project planning is realistic,
his team considers the financial, personnel, and equipment and space resources necessary for every goal.
Spencer and her team hold an annual weekend business
retreat to plan short- and long-term strategy and "review
where we have been fiscally, operationally, and culturally;
we also review feedback from our key staff and providers
about their goals, and we review market and industry
trends." They set their top three annual objectives (Spencer calls them BHAGs: big, hairy, audacious goals) and
break these down into smaller, department-specific goals.
For every goal, Theine and his team define "what
does done look like?" They assign a physician champion
to that objective to ensure accountability for progress,
and set milestones throughout the year. He emphasizes
the value of pinpointing what's most important for
each quarter, so that the team can sustain progress and
drive success in the future.
To make sure goals are realistic, "I go back to my
military training," says Smith, a former Navy officer
and Marine Corps veteran. "We 'war-game' stuff." The
Marine Corps planning process involves defining the
problem and identifying possible courses of action,
then fleshing out each scenario to see if it's feasible.
For example, "our physicians have talked about adding
three clinics and another ASC in the next five years,"
Smith said. To make that happen, "you start looking
at possible scenarios, such as a merger, and you start to
realize this is or is not a realistic goal," he said.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2

How We Can Successfully Lead
Advanced Administration: Administrator Success Factors—Needing a Tune-Up Is Expected
Advice for New Administrators: Introducing the Administrator Beginners Circle—The Go-To Resource for New Administrators
Business Operations: Some Things to Know About Professional Liability Insurance
Customer Care: Making a Diffi cult Journey A Little Easier
Fast Practice: Breaking Down Practice Cliques
Human Resources: Recruiting Strategies for Ophthalmology—Where to Search for New Physicians
InfoTech: Cloud Computing— Storms or Blue Skies?
Reimbursement: Embracing Change to Thrive in an Evolving Reimbursement World
Technicians: Creating a “Feeder Program” to Staff Your Clinic
Washington Watch: MIPS in 2018—Key Changes for Ophthalmic Practices
Taking Your Practice to the Top
Use Podcasts to Increase Practice Visibility—and Thrive
Trailblazing— How to Implement Career Pathing in Your Practice
Ocular Surface Disease: Reimbursement Considerations for the Evaluation and Management of Dry Eye
Retina: Should Retinal Specialists Be Integrated Into a Multispecialty Practice?
Asked and Answered
ASOA News
Bookshelf: Off Balance On Purpose: Embrace Uncertainty and Create a Life You Love
COE Corner: Preparing for the COE Exam – Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Focus on a Practice: Ohio Valley Eye Physicians & Surgeons, PLLC, on Operating a Practice in Two States
Gamechanger: Karen Bachman, COE, COMT, OCS, ROUB
Advertisers’ Index
Peer to Peer: What’s Your Favorite Technique for Holding a Productive Staff Meeting?
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Cover1
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Cover2
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 1
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 2
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 3
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 4
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - How We Can Successfully Lead
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Advanced Administration: Administrator Success Factors—Needing a Tune-Up Is Expected
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 7
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Advice for New Administrators: Introducing the Administrator Beginners Circle—The Go-To Resource for New Administrators
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 9
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Business Operations: Some Things to Know About Professional Liability Insurance
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 11
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Customer Care: Making a Diffi cult Journey A Little Easier
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 13
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Fast Practice: Breaking Down Practice Cliques
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 15
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Human Resources: Recruiting Strategies for Ophthalmology—Where to Search for New Physicians
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 17
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - InfoTech: Cloud Computing— Storms or Blue Skies?
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 19
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Reimbursement: Embracing Change to Thrive in an Evolving Reimbursement World
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 21
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Technicians: Creating a “Feeder Program” to Staff Your Clinic
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 23
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Washington Watch: MIPS in 2018—Key Changes for Ophthalmic Practices
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 25
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Taking Your Practice to the Top
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 27
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 28
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 29
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 30
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 31
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 32
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 33
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Use Podcasts to Increase Practice Visibility—and Thrive
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 35
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 36
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 37
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Trailblazing— How to Implement Career Pathing in Your Practice
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 39
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 40
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 41
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Ocular Surface Disease: Reimbursement Considerations for the Evaluation and Management of Dry Eye
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 43
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Retina: Should Retinal Specialists Be Integrated Into a Multispecialty Practice?
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 45
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Asked and Answered
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 47
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - ASOA News
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 49
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Bookshelf: Off Balance On Purpose: Embrace Uncertainty and Create a Life You Love
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 51
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - COE Corner: Preparing for the COE Exam – Keep Your Eye on the Prize
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 53
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Focus on a Practice: Ohio Valley Eye Physicians & Surgeons, PLLC, on Operating a Practice in Two States
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 55
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Gamechanger: Karen Bachman, COE, COMT, OCS, ROUB
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 57
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Advertisers’ Index
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - 59
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Peer to Peer: What’s Your Favorite Technique for Holding a Productive Staff Meeting?
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Cover3
AE March/April 2018 Vol 27 No 2 - Cover4
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