Getting ready for opening day


Howie’s comments: now that we look back on it, there’s really no such thing as your “official” opening day. The first several months should be looked at as a “soft opening” where you make sure your equipment gets delivered and your office gets set up, you train on your equipment, EHR and practice management system, and you go out to meet referring doctors. All of these things take weeks if not months to finish. Think of any patients you see for the first two months in between doing these tasks as a bonus.

I got my keys to the office the day I came back from AAO annual meeting. All of my office furniture, my computers and IT, and my exam lane were all being installed the same morning. The place was total chaos and the whole time I was thinking, what the $*&#& have I gotten myself into! My OCT, IOL master, visual field and acuity screening chart would come via FedEx a few days later.

I had about ten days before thanksgiving to set everything up and start my training on my EHR and PM system. And unfortunately the front desk I hired bailed on me, so I had to interview some more candidates and hire another person (which took a extra week).

The Tuesday after thanksgiving, when I was in my office unpacking boxes, a patient stopped by to make an appointment! His optometrist told him he needed a Yag capsulotomy, so he found my office on his insurance company website and stopped by. I scheduled him for 3 PM on Friday so I would have the whole day to make sure I was ready to see him (at this point I hadn’t taken my dilating drops out of the boxes yet!)

Several years later, this patient is still very happy and seeing well post capsulotomy and I don’t see patients after 3 PM on Fridays. But the point I’m trying to make is to not be worried if only four patients show up opening week. Concentrate on getting your office in order, making fast plans for your EHR, learning your practice management system inside out, and going out to shake hands because once you get busier you won’t have the free time to focus on these details.

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