Article

O.D. to O.D.

NOT A DRY EYE IN THE HOUSE

BUILD A MEDICAL PRACTICE BY ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

LET ME start with a basic question to get your eye care/business juices flowing:

How would you like to make an additional $50,000 by helping people see and feel better, yet not work one extra hour to do so?

Anyone in? Want to read more? I am guessing that since you, likely, read the title of this column, you know where I’m going with this question.

YOU HAVE MEDICAL PATIENTS

Recently, a peer (let’s call him “Dr. X”) called to discuss a clinical challenge he faced in his practice. A few minutes into the discussion, I realized that the doctor was missing an approach he should take with all his vision care patients. Our conversation went something like this:

DR. X: Scot, I am trying to build a medical practice, and I need help. I see about 20 patients a day, but I never see any medical patients. I’m not even sure I could fit additional patients in to the schedule. But still, I think I need to diversify my practice.

Scot: Well, you are in luck! Chances are, you already see at least four dry eye disease (DED) patients in your office every day. So, you don’t need to spend a dime marketing to medical patients. All you need to do is ask every patient three questions:

  1. Does your vision fluctuate and, if so, does it get better when you blink?
  2. Are your eyes ever red?
  3. Do you ever “feel” your eyes?

Dr. X: I don’t get it. How will those three questions bring new DED patients in to my practice?

Scot: They won’t! But, if you ask these questions to every patient you currently see, you will find out that 20% or more of them will answer “yes” to two or more of the questions. These are your medical patients who have always been in your office — you just needed to ask the “right” questions to identify them.

They have a medical condition that needs to be discussed at their initial visit and treated at subsequent visits.

Dr. X: It can’t be that easy.

Scot: Yes, it can be that easy. And the best part of it is that you are helping your patients look, see and feel better, as you build your practice!

AN EASY WAY TO BUILD

Interestingly, it has always been that easy to build your practice. The key is to ask the right questions and then listen to the answers. What you will discover is that DED is, undoubtedly, the most prevalent disease in your practice, still!

In this, our annual ocular surface issue, our goal is to provide you with the tools you need to build your ocular surface practice. Remember, it is not difficult to find patients who require care for their DED. Ask the three questions above, and you might discover a whole new part of your practice, one that was always right there in front of you. OM.