Get the correct numbers, and keep them growing
For years, ophthalmology practices have used conversation rate to evaluate performance of out-of-pocket pay procedures, such as LASIK. To achieve this rate, for example, they divide the number of patients who undergo the refractive surgery by the total qualified surgery candidates. This calculation is accurate because these patients present desiring refractive surgery.
In practices that offer in-office dry eye disease (DED) treatments, however, this is not the case: Patients who have the chronic condition know they have a problem, but they don’t know these practices have the solution (or treatment). As a result, their decision to proceed with an in-office treatment may not be immediate. Thus, calculating a strict conversion rate at the point of presentation sets up the practice for disappointment.
Here, I discuss how such practices can obtain an accurate conversion rate and grow it.
The better way to consider conversion rate in practices that provide in-office DED treatments is to break the rate into three buckets: (1) immediate, (2) short-term (less than six months later) and (3) long-term (greater than six months).
The immediate conversion bucket is comprised of patients who are fed up with the condition or those who understand the opportunity to achieve symptomatic improvement.
Short-term conversions are made up of patients who “pause” on electing to undergo an in-office treatment because they first want validation from friends or family, or they have financial concerns.
The long-term conversion bucket is comprised of patients who take greater than six months to undergo treatment because they don’t feel “that bad,” or “the treatment is too new,” making them tentative to committing to treatment.
It’s reasonable and respectful to give time to those patients who fall under the latter buckets. That said, we should still actively work to tip those buckets into treatment acceptance.
To accomplish this, we should continue to raise awareness of the benefit of the in-office treatment after the initial presentation. This can be accomplished virtually by programed email blasts and invitations to dry eye management “trunk shows.” Specifically, practices can offer a DED trunk show that offers refreshments, demonstrations of the related diagnostics and, possibly, lean on their industry partners for support of the event (by sending a representative to help with demonstrations, etc).
Additionally, we should consider sending a personal note or making a phone call about how we genuinely feel the in-office treatment could aid the patient. Authenticity builds rapport and trust, increasing the likelihood the patient will elect to undergo the needed treatment.
KEEP IT GOING
To measure our educational efforts and related conversions, let’s also keep a rolling list of those patients who received an in-office treatment presentation, but did not immediately elect to proceed. This way, we can ensure these patients remain on our radar, and we can measure the success of our efforts in providing them with the best care. OM