A Strategic Approach To Growing Patient Volume in an Academic Setting

Joseph B. Fleming, OD
Richard E. Stroud, MBA
Rodney W. Nowakowski, OD, PhD


Adequate patient flow is an absolute requisite for fiscal health in any clinical environment. In an academic setting, patient visits are also a cornerstone of the curriculum. In order for clinical education to be effective, students and residents must have a reasonable volume of patient encounters. For these reasons, substantial efforts are aimed at maintaining the patient base in a school or college of optometry. This paper presents historical patient volume data of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry and describes recent strategic initiatives, which have resulted in growth of patient volume by 23 percent in a single year. A rapid increase in patient visits is achievable, even in an academic health center. Lessons learned have wide applicability, inside and outside the educational arena.

Key Words: Patient volume, patient flow, patient base, patient visits, clinical education

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