Talking Tech With Patients
How and why you should have the practice technology conversation
GINA M. WESLEY, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Most optometrists have advanced instrumentation in their offices, allowing them to increase their efficiency and/or gather data at a high level.
For the most part, our patients are oblivious to these tools. For all they know, every eyecare practitioner has these exact same pieces of equipment.
So, how do we let our patients know that what we have may be different, and/or better than what other eyecare practitioners have, thereby instilling patient loyalty and prompting patient referrals to our practice? The answer is we have to talk “tech” with our patients.
Here, I explain how to accomplish this and other methods of merchandising your technology.
Keep it simple
I believe the most important thing when explaining technology to patients is keeping it simple. We, in the industry, may sometimes forget our patients don’t know the difference between being nearsighted/farsighted, much less the nuances of an OCT vs. standard retinal photography.
To enable patients to understand, create simple “sound bites” of explanations easy for staff to deliver to patients:
“This retinal camera will capture a high-definition image of the inside of your eye, allowing us to keep an exact record of your eye health,” is an example of a simple and, therefore, effective sound bite.
On the other hand, “This non-mydriatic retinal camera allows a wide-angle capture of your retina, macula, optic nerve and nerve fiber health to give the doctor more data for analysis,” will likely lose the patient at “non-mydriatic.”
Get everyone involved
Explaining your technology is also crucial in the delivery of optional patient-pay testing, as it facilitates the patient’s decision-making process, hopefully in your favor. If you have such devices, start the education process immediately.
Have the receptionist give a brief overview of recommended tests, and provide written information that explains the “why” and benefit of those tests.
Next, have the technician who performs pre-testing re-explain and/or answer patient questions, again, using accessible sound bites.
If each of these steps is delivered adequately, you’ve not only educated your patient as to how your practice is technologically different, but have possibly elevated your revenues to pay for that technology, invest in new technology and put a little in your pocket.
The merchandising options don’t just end and begin with private-testing examples, however. Does your website highlight your new automated refraction system? Did you emphasize on your in-office TV educational system the most advanced contact lens technology in the office? Post a picture of a patient or staff member on your practice’s Facebook page using the newest computerized ophthalmic measuring instrument. Or, create an internal office brochure on your latest in dry eye disease treatment and detection. The options are boundless for merchandising your office’s technology.
Patients don’t understand what they don’t know, so make it a priority to tell them how your technology sets you apart in a concise, easy-to-understand format. Don’t let your clinic become just another nearsighted/farsighted conundrum. OM
DR. WESLEY PRACTICES AT COMPLETE EYE CARE OF MEDINA, WHICH SHE OPENED IN 2008. SHE WAS HONORED AS MINNESOTA’S OPTOMETRIST OF THE YEAR IN 2011. E-MAIL DRWESLEY@CECOFMEDINA.COM, OR SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.
Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: May 2013, page(s): 50