Article Date: 3/1/2011

Yes, we Treat Pink Eye
Marketing fundamentals

Yes, we Treat Pink Eye

Build patient awareness of all the services you offer via a report card.

Leah Colby, O.D.

Our practice has struggled with the challenge of how to increase our patient's awareness of what we do medically. After 15 years in practice, I've gotten much better at controlling my blood pressure when patients tell me they got a prescription for sulfacetamide for pink eye from the local urgent-care provider.

I've also built my practice on the concept of “over-educating” patients on their vision and/or eye condition because I think educated patients become compliant, make the right eyewear choices and forge long-term relationships with a practice.

The “Exam Summary”

We created an Exam Report Card. The “Exam Summary” side of our report card is broken into five sections that address commonly asked questions or follow-up issues. (See figure 1, below.) The first section includes when/how often patients must wear glasses. The second section addresses the patient's eye health. We list diseases and can provide a secondary handout with detailed information, which reinforces the diagnosis and treatment plan of a disease. A “Have a Physical” box reminds patients to follow up on their cholesterol, blood pressure or other possible diseases found during the eye exam.

Figure 1. Shown is the Exam Summary side of the Exam Report Card.

The third section explains eye-wear material, type and enhancements that we prescribe. We always page our opticians to the exam room so we can summarize our findings to them in front of the patient. This hand-off of authority and the report card reinforce our recommendations.

The fourth section includes the patient's actual prescription (e.g. myopia, for instance). Also, we provide the definitions of the various refractive errors in layman's terms.

The final section includes a summary of recommendations that we typically already addressed during the exam. It's another way to plant the seed of alternative refractive corrections as patients plan for their future visual corrections.

On the opposite side of the card, we include our mission statement and emergency services, so patients will know they can see us for medical eye care as well. Hours and after hours contact information also appear on the card.

At each exam's end, I tell the patient we are medical optometrists—we can see them for pink eye, emergencies or eye trauma. I am amazed at the surprised reactions of patients who have no idea that an optometrist can provide these services.

Click here for a PDF version of the Exam Report Card. Feel free to use, change and make the report card your own.

Remember, education is power and creating a powerful impression with your patient leads to a long-term powerful relationship. OM


DR. COLBY OPERATES EYEWEST VISION CLINIC AND OPTICAL IN ROGERS, 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.

Optometric Management, Issue: March 2011