Her name is Diane Becerra, and I could not care for my dry eye patients like I want to without her.
The business of ocular surface disease can be overwhelming to some ODs. There are many challenges to overcome, including but not limited to establishing diagnostic and therapeutic protocols, patient education, compliance, and flow.
When I recognized the impact of ocular surface disease on my patients’ quality of life and implemented an ocular surface disease (OSD) practice algorithm, medical follow-up visits tripled in six months. I could not have done this successfully without the full support of my staff.
While the doctor must set the tone and keep the big picture in mind, it is the engaged staff who will make it happen in practice. Symptomatic dry eye patients can be some of the most challenging and demanding. Because doctor time is valuable, it is common sense to delegate as much to staff as much as possible. While all team members should be able to educate patients and fulfill the doctor’s recommendations, it is helpful to have a team leader. Identify a staff member who has exceptional people skills. Some desirable traits are empathy, confidence, and learning and listening skills.
Essential responsibilities of an OSD advocate
Understand the disease state
Allergic conjunctivitis, blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction, and dry eye disease are prevalent conditions that ODs see daily in practice. Have staff shadow you to learn more about these common ocular diseases, associated patient symptoms, and your therapeutic approach. A digital biomicroscope is especially helpful. Utilize online resources to educate.