Market Contact Lens Compliance
Consider these steps, which improve patient loyalty and your bottom line.
Leah Colby, O.D.
Marketing takes many forms, from the in-your-face TV or newspaper advertising to more subtle internal marketing that directly impacts patient care. In any office, it’s important to create an expected culture that lets the patient know who you are and what kind of care you deliver.
When it comes to the contact lens patients in our practice, we have set the standard that we are not here to be their best friend or save them a buck or two. Rather, we take pride in our role as the patient’s eyecare doctor. Therefore, we professionally recommend and prescribe the best lenses and modality to our patients.
In our efforts to prescribe the best, we’ve all seen patients who are misinformed or have “misheard” information about their contact lens modality. They sleep overnight in lenses that are not approved for overnight wear. They wear two-week lenses for two months because a best friend told them it was “okay to wear them until they feel bad.”
As a result, we’ve taken the approach of repetition, repetition, repetition to hammer home the importance of compliance for longterm contact lens success, which ultimately impacts our bottom line. Here is how our practice emphasizes this message.
Everyone has a role
All staff members take part in delivering the compliance message. For example, our technicians review the contact lens design and wear schedule, and briefly discuss any misinformation which with the patient presents. In reviewing the patient history, the doctor focuses on any bad habits the patient has developed, and takes the time to discuss why contact lens compliance is critical to long-term eye health, good vision and contact lens comfort.
We all see patients who are misinformed or have “misheard” information.
One of my new favorite analogies as it relates to contact lens compliance is the “underwear” analogy. Here’s how I use it: When I am seeing a particularly non-compliant patient, I ask him/her whether he/she would wear the same underwear for more than a day without a thorough overnight cleaning. While it’s a gross exaggeration (especially in the mental imagery department), it’s very effective at driving the point home.
Final points of discussion
At the time of our final prescription approval, my last few points of discussion revolve around adherence to the wear schedule and the importance of good cleaning habits. Asking a few simple questions based on the points we discussed helps assure me that the patient fully understands the importance of compliance.
Additionally, when our patients pick up their lens supplies we dispense a contact lens reminder card that is filled out by our technicians and reviews the disposable schedule and the doctor’s recommended cleaning solution. This, again, reinforces the importance of compliance with their disposable schedule.
We are amazed at the number of patients — even our own — who develop their own habits of contact lens abuse in spite of our consistent message. However, with persistent communication and education you can “market” your patients to better long-term health, and help drive your bottom line with improved compliance. OM
DR. COLBY OPERATES EYEWEST VISION CLINIC IN ROGERS AND ST. MICHAEL, MINN. SHE WAS NAMED THE “YOUNG OPTOMETRIST OF THE YEAR” BY THE MINNESOTA OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION. TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE, E-MAIL OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.
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