Does Your Staff Say?
your employees discusses new technology
could be a benefit or a bust.
THE EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jim Thomas
the many recent advancements in contact lenses, diagnostic equipment and therapies
just to name a few areas how do you keep up with the solutions that
will provide your patients with the highest level of care? An equally
question might be: How does your staff communicate these advances to patients?
Include the staff
Is the link between patient and staff that
important? Yes. When patients call, staff answers the phone. Your staff answers
question in the reception area. If you've delegated refraction and other tasks,
then patients spend more time and generally communicate more with
your staff. While your recommendation is paramount, your staff plays a critical
role in the education of your patients.
In these cases, your employees project
one of two images:
knowledgeable professional: "Today's contact lenses provide a level of comfort that
was unheard of just a few years ago. We recommend XYZ lenses, which are comfortable
even after all-day wear. I'll let the doctor know that you're interested."
roadblock: "Yeah, I saw that commercial about dry eye too. I'm not really sure what
they were talking about. There's just so many of those dry eye products out there."
There are a few steps
you can take to develop the professional approach. The first is to emphasize to
your staff the positive results of patient education. It enhances the employee's
professional development, as well as patient health and retention. It contributes
to the success of the practice and also to staff satisfaction. It feels good to
Next, provide the materials necessary
for education. If your staff cannot answer questions about new products and therapies
(especially those you recommend), the diseases that you treat and manage, or an
area of practice specialization, then they need information. Make available educational
resources including posters brochures, vendor-supplied materials, etc. Finally,
make education a regular, continuous job responsibility.
Complete the cycle
Having knowledge is only half the solution,
your staff must communicate effectively to patients. Provide guidance on how employees
should approach and educate patients. Consider using scripts where appropriate.
Review success and failures.
New and innovative products should
generate excitement among patients. In many instances, your staff will be the main
generator. So power them up.
Optometric Management, Issue: February 2006