Perfect the transition from exam lane to the optical

There are two ways to maximize your capture rate in your optical showroom: doctor-driven dispensing and perfecting the patient handoff.


In this process, the doctor takes the time to recommend vision solutions in the exam room by explaining the specific lens options available to address the patient’s vision needs. In our office, the doctor also handwrites his recommendations on an optical brochure, which has information in it reinforcing the purchase of the glasses from our office. In addition to our in-office brochure, we will include product brochures from the manufacturer.

Now, the patient has what she came to you for: Your expertise and recommendations on the best ways to solve her vision problems. The optician knows that the doctor’s recommendations are highly valued by the patient and, thus, usually result in the purchase of that one (or more) product.


The second important part of increasing capture rate is the patient handoff. There are two ways that this can be done effectively:

  1. Have your optical staff join you in the exam room as you complete the exam.
  2. The doctor escorts the patient to the optical showroom personally.

We do the latter and find it is a natural way to complete the patient experience.

Introduce the patient to your staff person, and use referential praise during the handoff to build the credibility of your optical staff. For example, I will say, “Mrs. Smith, this is Laurie. She is an expert in frame styling and loves helping people look great in their new glasses. You’re in good hands!” This elevates the optician’s importance to the patient in the process.

Then, review your recommend-ations with the optician, so that the patient can hear them again, thank the patient for coming in, and go see your next patient. This seamless transfer of authority — from you to your staff — shows the patient that the exam experience isn’t over, and the optical one is about to begin.

If no staff are available for the handoff, ask one of your opticians who is currently working with someone else to briefly excuse themselves, then introduce them to the new patient and do the handoff. The optician then reassures the patient that they will be with them shortly. (The other patient isn’t offended by the short time they are left alone because it gives them time to try on the frames they have been considering in private.)


When the patient starts the process in the optical area, she has been “pre-sold” on what she needs, based on the doctor’s recommendation. This makes it easier for your optician to go right into discussing lenses first, instead of frames first, which happens so often.

In the procedure at my office, the optical staff also has the patient’s insurance benefits printed, along with the additional cost to the patient above what the insurance pays for the lenses we most often prescribe. By doing this, we don’t have to do the line-by-line calculations in front of the patient, which takes time and causes patients anxiety, as they watch the numbers increase. This handoff step greatly reduces those patients who walk with their prescription.

Take the time to do the patient handoff, beginning with your actions in the exam room. It will pay off in greater profitability with an increased capture rate. OM