In the October issue of OM, the patient experience rightly grabs the spotlight

Evaluating the patient experience is one of the components “essential to providing a complete picture of health care quality,” according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. This experience encompasses the full range of patient interactions with doctors, staff and facilities. It also includes other aspects of health care delivery, such as timely appointments, access to information and good communication.

In this issue of Optometric Management, our authors address many of the issues that affect the patient experience, which is the theme of this month’s issue. For example, in “O.D. to O.D.” (p.2), Chief Optometric Editor April Jasper, O.D., explains eight steps to improve communication that can result in both “raving fans” and “better outcomes for your patients.”


Often communication is judged by how well the doctor answers patients’ questions. In “Connect With Patients Via Questions” (p.16), Selena McGee, O.D., explains how to answer the top five patient questions in a way that leads to deeper doctor/patient connections.

Communication is also critical in the optical, which often faces intense competition from any number of retail and discount channels. In “Techniques to Improve the Optical Experience” (p.30), Edward Beiner describes how to create a seamless guest experience, one that has allowed his optical business to thrive in today’s marketplace.

A common thread of bad experiences is likely that the reality did not live up to expectations, writes Britt Gustafson, O.D., in “Set Expectations for Contact Lens Fits” (p.24). Dr. Gustafson explains how to use “a minute or two of chair time” to create expectations that can lead to happy, loyal patients.

The impact of the clinician’s skills cannot be overemphasized in effecting the patient experience. With this in mind, Leo Semes, O.D., F.A.A.O., offers two scenarios that illustrate how the doctor can use both structural and functional testing to arrive at the right diagnosis (see “Improve Patients’ Diagnostic Testing Experience,” p.20).

As we continue our discussion of the patient experience, we’d like to hear from you. Feel free to communicate with us (at your ideas on the exceptional experience. We will plan to share these in an upcoming issue of OM. OM