Industry will often provide "lunch and learn" opportunities for staff education. In my visits to many successful dry eye clinics around the country, I have found that some of the most successful team leaders are also dry eye sufferers.
Before the patient gets to the doctor, the staff performs screening and appropriate diagnostics. A patient questionnaire is handed out at reception with symptomatic patients tested for inflammation and hyperosmolarity. Several devices can image tear film break-up time (TFBUT), tear meniscus, conjunctival redness, lipid layer thickness, and meibomian glands. Most companies providing these tests will gladly train staff. With so many diagnostic parameters, staff efficiency is vital.
Educate patients and encourage compliance
The doctor should briefly educate patients about their diagnoses and prescribe a treatment plan that notes the importance of adhering to directions. Staff is then responsible for driving compliance. Printed materials with checkboxes allow for productive, efficient discussions. Patients also have something to take home to gain a better understanding of the doctor's findings and prescriptions.
Staff should work on becoming fluent in their presentations to patients. One training technique includes presenting to other staff. A video recording can be very useful for feedback.
Compliance is a critical part of the process of ensuring good patient outcomes, and it can be the toughest part, as well. Staff must reinforce the "why" behind the treatment plan. Listening skills and empathy are essential in this step because dry eye patients often want to be acknowledged and heard.
Staff must also learn to address objections to time or cost. Ensure that follow-ups and procedures are scheduled, and prescribed products dispensed immediately following the examination.
More by Dr. Schachter: Utilize online community for OSD management