Article Date: 9/1/2011

A Solution to the “Cost” Issue
spectacle focus

A Solution to the “Cost” Issue

Financing options, such as CareCredit, can create satisfied, loyal patients.

Jerry Sude, O.D.

For patients to return and refer friends and family to our practices, they need to walk out of our doors happy with both the care we provided and the optical products they chose. Yet when the economy stumbled, we found some of our patients became more hesitant to choose the premium lenses and frames they wanted, and, instead, settled for less expensive options with which they weren't entirely happy. And our team became equally hesitant to recommend upgrades, believing patients would not be interested because of cost.

We sought a financial solution and decided on CareCredit, a healthcare credit card. We had heard about CareCredit from several patients who had used the program at their dentist and wanted to use it at our practice too. We were curious if patients would want to use such a program when their out-of-pocket cost after insurance was less than a couple hundred dollars. Of course, we couldn't tell which patients may be limited by cost concerns, so we decided to add CareCredit and offer it early as a payment option to all our patients. Here's what we experienced.

How it works

There were no costs involved in offering CareCredit. The company provided training, patient education materials and other support. We make promotional materials available to patients in our reception area and near display cases.

We introduce CareCredit as part of our conversation with the patient. It is the first step in our Guardian Sales Program, which we created to improve capture rates and create structure for opticians. After the examination, before patients select their frames and lenses, we ask, “Do you have Care-Credit?” If they do, we let them know they can use CareCredit in our practice. If they don't, they usually ask, “What's CareCredit?” This gives us the opportunity to let them know it is a healthcare credit card they can use to get the upgraded lenses and frames they prefer and conveniently pay over time.

Once the initial pair of glasses is presented, we continue to use CareCredit in the third step of our program to discuss additional pairs, including sunglasses and computer glasses. We don't wait until a patient expresses cost concerns because when they reach that point, they are already uncomfortable and unhappy.

The program's online payment calculator and patient brochure allow us to show patients their monthly payment. If they choose CareCredit, they complete a short application, which we submit online. A credit decision is provided almost instantly so the patient can use the program that very day.

The early results

After two months, we found that patients who use CareCredit often buy several pairs of glasses or prescription sunglasses at the same time. In fact, we found CareCredit to be very effective, as our average sales increased by 25% since providing the option, adding up to an additional $100 per patient in incremental revenue.

Even though most patients can afford glasses and contact lenses to help them see better, CareCredit helps many of them get the optical products that also make them look and feel great. As a result, they walk out of our door happy and more likely to return.

To receive information about the CareCredit program, visit www.carecredit.com/optometry, or call (866) 853-8432. OM


DR. SUDE PRACTICES AT NOVUS CLINIC IN TALLMADGE, OHIO. HE IS ALSO THE CHAIRMAN OF OD EXCELLENCE. CONTACT HIM AT (330) 630-9699, OR THROUGH OD EXCELLENCE AT (855) 201-1639, OR VISIT WWW.ODEXCELLENCE.COM.


Optometric Management, Issue: September 2011