Expand their responsibilities to assist with contact lens patients.
JASON R. MILLER, O.D., M.B.A.
Optometric technicians are critical to the success of our contact lens business. Not only can they improve the efficiency with which we perform contact lens fits, but they also can improve the quality of care being provided.
If you have not considered utilizing your staff when it comes to contact lens fits, consider allowing them to take on this role by performing the following tasks:
Plant the seed.
Generating interest in contact lens wear often times starts and ends with the technicians. The preliminary testing is a great time to discuss the positive new innovations in contact lens wear. From daily disposable lenses and new multifocal designs to specialty lenses for those difficult to fit, this discussion opens the door for the doctor to come in and select the appropriate design that best meets the patients’ visual needs.
This discussion is easiest to bring up during the history questions. After the patient reveals an interest, have your techs describe “the process” of achieving success with contact lenses. Many patients do not realize that finalizing a contact lens prescription is not the same process as finalizing a spectacle prescription.
Talking to patients about fees is never fun, but it is an important and often-forgotten step. Contact lenses require extra time and expertise, and many patients don’t realize that with that comes a service fee for that procedure. Fees can be a hurdle for some patients, and some are even surprised there is an extra cost for this procedure.
Our technicians can handle many of these inquiries and divert any uncomfortable situations that may arise ahead of time. We use a contact lens agreement form to inform patients there is a fee for this service and that fees vary based on the complexity of the contact lenses needed for them to achieve vision and comfort success. (Click here for a sample contact lens agreement form.)
Conduct training classes.
New contact lenses require training on insertion and removal, along with care instructions for their new medical devices. Our technicians are instrumental in providing this service to our patients to ensure they understand how to properly wear and care for their lenses. This improves compliance and minimizes the patients’ risk for complications. Additionally, have a checklist form that includes all steps that need to be followed in order to enhance contact lens success.
Test contact lenses.
This testing can range from performing the history and visual acuity testing to the actual lens fit evaluation and over-refractions. There is no substitute for the eye care professional, but it is important to train your staff on what is being evaluated at the follow-up visits. This may start with having them scribe during the visits. The knowledge gained from performing this analysis helps with patient flow down the road.
A helping hand
Technicians are eager to help and enjoy working with our patients. Expanding their responsibilities benefits your practice as well as contact lens patients. OM
DR. MILLER IS A PARTNER IN A PRIVATE PRACTICE IN POWELL, OHIO, AND IS AN ADJUNCT FACULTY MEMBER FOR THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY. SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.
Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: April 2013, page(s): 53