for the Good
need motivation to get through the day. You can help.
THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR Jim Thomas
a financial planner tried to sell his services to me and my wife. After looking
over the family records, he offered his blunt prognosis: "Based on your earnings,
savings and your desire to put your five children through college, I don't see how
you're going to reach the retirement goals we recommend. But I'd still like you
to consider my services."
He didn't sell us. My wife and I are confident
we can miss our goals without his help. We decided to go with a planner who was
qualified, familiar with our specific situation and upbeat in his assessment.
It's about motivation
Our decision was swayed not only by expertise,
but also because the planner used good news to motivate us. Healthcare providers
often face a similar issue. A physician might recommend an ideal weight for a patient.
If the patient misses the goal, the doctor can offer one of two responses. First,
the patient failed to achieve the set goal (bad news) or second, the patient is
healthier because she did lose weight (good news).
A parallel example in eye care would
be the case of a patient whose IOP drops from 35mm Hg to 17mm Hg, although 12mm
Hg was the target. The primary care optometrist can present the patient with good
news that the significant drop in IOP is an improvement or the bad
news that the patient did not reach the targeted IOP.
The right message is the one
that will motivate the patient to continue with the chosen course of therapy. A
compliant patient will most likely be receptive to other therapies that may lower
IOP even further, if that is the treatment the doctor prescribes. In this instance,
does the doctor provide any value by sharing his frustrations over the missed target?
(While warnings and bad news can be effective, research concludes that these are
most effective when used sparingly.)
Let the patient help
Aside from the goals set by doctors, patients
also think in terms of targets, whether it's IOP or 20/20 vision. These targets
may be based on the recommendations of friends and family as well as advertising
and other forms of marketing/education. Assuming that they're realistic, these
targets can provide another source of motivation for the doctor to draw on in patient
Whether it's returning for exams, visiting
specialists, following a specific care regimen, or maintaining compliance, patients
often need a shot of motivation. At these times, it's good to be able to count on
you, the optometrist.
Optometric Management, Issue: April 2006