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Young Ophthalmologists
Signs and Symptoms of the Best Practices

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My extended family is larger than Toula’s in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding! Over the past few months, several family members have had strabismus surgery, retinal detachment surgery, cataract extraction with IOL, bilateral blepharoplasty, retinal tear repair, basal cell carcinoma removal and glaucoma surgery, as well as numerous special testing services and exams.

Since I work in ophthalmology, I tend to either accompany family to the ophthalmologist office or certainly hear details following the exam, surgery, etc. Over the course of many visits, I’ve found that, in addition to coding correctly, many of the offices I’ve visited have displayed what I consider to be signs and symptoms of the best practices. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Family members were able to obtain an appointment within two weeks. Emergency cases were worked in the day of the call.
  • Offices were neat in appearance. No couches, but individual chairs. Reading materials was current (within the last six months).
  • Patient information sheets were printed in at least 12-point font and easy to read. Ample space was provided for writing insurance numbers and long addresses.
  • Waiting time in the reception area did not exceed 20 minutes.
  • Each member of the staff interacted with the family, introduced her/himself and explained what component of the exam they were performing and why.
  • The physician spoke directly to the patient, loudly enough for him or her to hear. And, at the conclusion, the physician asked if there were any remaining questions.
  • When surgery was scheduled, the pre-surgical printed forms outlined specific details, including out-of-pocket costs.
  • When surgery was performed, the surgeon called that afternoon or the next morning to check on the status/comfort of the patient.

When you or your loved one is the patient, the art of practice management and patient care takes on a different view. So, I’d like to take personal liberty to express the appreciation of my family to the following physicians and their staff: Drs. Jason Ahee, John Alder, Greg Brinton, Robert Christiansen, Steve Jackson, Robert Kwun, Corey Miller, Matt Parsons, David Peterson, Scott Richards, and Norm Zabriskie.

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About the author: Sue Vicchrilli, COT, OCS, is the coding executive for the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives.