A day in the life of… domiciliary optician Sai

Sai visits patients in their homes, working as his own boss but with the support of a company in a joint venture partnership.

What do you start with every day?

I like to start my day sorting out my packed lunch, ensuring I have plenty of water as it can be thirsty work chatting to patients all day! I also do some general housekeeping like making sure my testing equipment is prepped and checking my patient list, which is organised and sent to my tablet by the scheduling team at OutsideClinic. I set off at 8.30. The time can be earlier or later, there is quite a bit of flexibility.

What do you love about your job?

I love the variety. I meet all sorts of people and I am out and about testing in my patients’ homes, rather than stuck in a testing room. Patients really value the time you spend with them and there is great satisfaction in improving their wellbeing.

You can get more of an insight into the patient’s visual needs and challenges. We can advise on the placement of TVs, or alert them to potential trip hazards and any lighting improvements they should make. Being able to tailor the test to their exact needs is incredibly rewarding. I can spend up to an hour with my patients, which means I feel less rushed than on the high street. I have the opportunity to dispense spectacles from a great range of frames and lenses, as well as demonstrate a variety of visual aids.

I am in a Joint venture Partnership (JVP) with OutsideClinic. That means that I am my own boss, running my own business, but with the company as a partner. While I focus on patients, OutsideClinic provides me with support in areas like marketing, HR, customer service, and patient acquisition. This frees up my time and reduces the amount of admin work, enabling me to focus on delivering high quality eye care to those patients who most need my help.

The company also provides me with the latest and most portable equipment for testing, which patients are wowed by; it exceeds what they were expecting from a home eye test. In my opinion, it is some of the best equipment available and includes a portable digital fundus camera, mobile slit lamp, I-care tonometer and a digital patient record system (EyEris) that allows us to easily access, update and process referrals.

Being in a partnership means that I have the independence that comes with running my own business, while benefiting from the support that comes with working as part of a big, established team. I can give feedback on scheduling, the number of patients I am seeing, what areas I am being sent to, I can ask for marketing to help me to grow my customer base and I also have access to a wide range of training events and CPD resources.

What are some of the challenges?

Sometimes you can get bogged down in traffic. You are seeing patients from across the breadth of society, so some patients’ homes may be more challenging to conduct tests in than others, but the variety is what makes the job so interesting. Sometimes patients want to spend all day with you, so you have to balance the need to be social and the need to see others, but that goes to show how much they appreciate you visiting!

What do you do to wrap up the day and prepare for the next one?

I wrap up my day by doing a few housekeeping tasks. I will download my patient list for the next day, print off receipts for my accounts and charge my equipment. Then once those few tasks are done, I can relax for the night.