The father of the Total Quality Movement, W. Edwards Deming said, “You can expect what you inspect.” He believed that inputs plus process equal outputs. The Doctors of TSO and their office managers have to put on their operations manager hat and inspect the inputs and processes within the optical and lab in order to get the results they expect. We recommend a weekly ten-minute meeting in which the Doctor of TSO or the office manager can get with the optical manager or senior optician and ask a couple questions. The following is a guideline to serve as a guide to your meeting:
In the lab:
Inspect five random patient’s eyewear orders from the last 30 days. Ensure that the discount amounts on the frames and lenses invoice are correct, make sure that what the patient received is what is on the invoices from both the frame company and the lab, and make sure this all corresponds with what your EHR software reflects. There should be no lenses or frames out of trays; everything should be accounted for in a neat and organized way.
Ensure the product is made in a timely fashion. Our lab trays have space for two dates and a patient name. Tray colors can also be used as indicators in your practice. I have seen several offices use red trays for rush jobs. Many of those offices also use two dates on the trays. The date on the left is the date the patient ordered the eyewear; the date on the right is two days before the patient was promised the completed eyewear. Then the lab staff member can pull all the trays that have a date preceding today’s date and call the lab to check on the status. In the event of a delay, the date on the right is updated to the new lab promised date and the job is shifted into a red tray. The patient then gets an update call regardless what the office is using the two dates system, anyone walking into the lab can see if we are on schedule within a couple of minutes of scanning trays. Make sure that you have a credit book! Everything that is returned should get logged into the book and marked out once the credit is received and verified as accurate. This book should be reviewed at the weekly ten-minute meeting.
In the optical:
Inspect the frame planogram for the office. Does your frame inventory reflect the buying program that you approved? (If you don’t have a planogram, please get with your market manager). Do you have under stocked frames? If so, how much money do you have invested in them? How long does it take you to turn them? How many total under stocked frames do you have?
Make sure that every frame is clean (no previously dotted PDs!), marked with the right price (sometimes I see $0 on a tag), and that they all have both demo lenses. Make sure they are organized in a neat way. Minimize counter cards, posters, and logo plaques. Ten counter cards in a small amount of space do not tell your patients ten different things; they tell the patient nothing and frustrate them!
Remember; make things simple for the patient.
Each month we ask one of the Region Market Managers to write an article on a subject they select to be important based on their work with offices in their region.