By Dave Anderson, OD
From vendor participation to incorporating hands-on wet labs, Dr. Dave Anderson offers his top tips on how ECPs can maximize their staff meeting success.
ECPs are all busy with patient care and using new technology for diagnoses and treatment plans, but do staff know what you do in that dark room every day? Do you come across interesting cases that you think other members of your team might want to know about? Do you find yourself thinking about patient visits and wonder if your staff could have helped more? And do you take the time to note these areas and set a plan to improve on them?
If you hold regular staff meetings, you already have set the stage with a built-in audience that can embrace your ideas and implement any necessary changes to your practice.
But even if you hold regular meetings, staff may still ask, “What’s the point of this meeting?” “Why are we are going over this?” or “Why do I have to get up early to be here?”
These are all common questions ECPs hear from staff, right? But consider, if you don’t hold effective meetings, you’ll likely receive this kind of feedback.
Step 1: Establish Your Meeting “Why”
Your first part of the meeting setup is establishing the why. If your staff understands the reason why you are meeting, they are more likely to engage and leave with a purpose. For example, this outcome is easy to achieve if the meeting’s focus is to discuss staff attendance for an upcoming conference or to review your practice’s privacy policies.
But how do you help staff understand the why of a regular meeting? This is quite easy to accomplish if you continue to focus on the why of your practice –which is to better help your patients.
Here’s one example:
“During today’s meeting, we are going to cover the importance of triage. Last week, Susan was able to help a patient by asking the right questions, and because of this, she scheduled the patient as an urgent visit. The patient originally called the office to schedule an exam. Instead of just scheduling a routine appointment, Susan asked the patient if she was experiencing any sudden changes to her vision. Based on the patient’s feedback, Susan scheduled her right away. It turned out that the patient had a retinal detachment that needed surgery that same day.”
In this case, the focus of your meeting is triage, but sharing a real-life story helps the staff understand the importance of this seemingly simple task.
Remember, always start the meeting with the why.
Step 2: Embrace Consistency
To have effective meetings, you need to schedule them on a regular basis, typically weekly or bi-weekly. Obviously, every office flow and staff schedule can be a bit different, but staff meetings need to be attended by all and set for a consistent day and time.
When setting staff schedules, be sure to include a specific day and time so everyone understands that this is part of their regular work schedule.
Book your meeting schedule far in advance and provide a variety of topics each week.
Step 3: Rely on Your Reps
As part of this routine, leverage your vendors to help your staff better understand the new technology and treatments that you prescribe for your patients. Whether you are introducing myopia management to your office or adding new contact lenses to your fitting arsenal, sales reps can provide insights on why their product can help your patients.
Sales reps can also customize the presentation to make it suitable for your entire team.
This will result in better staff engagement, and in turn, can help them take greater responsibility in caring for your patients as they become more knowledgeable.
Start planning your 2024 staff meeting schedule. Begin asking your reps if they would like to present to your staff to help your team gain a greater understanding of their products. Your staff truly want to help patients, and the more they know, the more they will care. Good luck in your next step towards excellent patient care.
Dr. Dave Anderson of Miamisburg Vision Care is a 2004 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Optometry. He is a past president of the Ohio Optometric Association and continues to serve on many committees at the state- and national-level. He is a preceptor for an Advanced Practice Extern site for OSU College of Optometry and has been an investigator in clinical trials for contact lenses and ocular pharmaceuticals.
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