Optometric Management Tip # 1   -   Wednesday, January 23, 2002
Three Key History Questions

This idea works best if it's part of a case history performed and recorded by a technician. Our techs ask these questions near the end of the history session after covering chief complaint, symptoms, current medications, etc.

Our exam forms have the following three questions printed on them with the basic answers. The tech just circles the patient's response.

1. Are you planning to get new glasses today? Yes -- No -- Only if Rx changes

2. Are you planning to get new contacts today? Yes -- No -- Only if Rx changes

3. Are you interested in finding out more about laser vision correction? Yes --No -- Maybe

These questions seem basic but I'll bet they never get asked in many offices. Having the answers in front of me when I start an eye exam makes my job much easier! If the answer to #1 is yes, and it often is, I'm quite sure the patient will be getting new glasses at this visit. If I don't know the patient wants new glasses I've found that I can sometimes even talk him out of them! Knowing the patient's intentions in advance means I don't have to lament over a small Rx change wondering if it's significant. Contact lenses work the same way.

Question # 3 keeps all patients aware that we're involved in laser vision correction, so if they are thinking of it, they won't go outside our practice. Note that we don't ask if the patient is interested in having the procedure... that's too big of a decision to make in that way, and it prompts too many negative answers. If the answer is yes, then the doctor will briefly discuss the procedure and recommend that the patient watch our educational video. Our laser vision coordinator provides further information.
Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management