Optometric Management

FEB 2017

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52 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7 • O P T O M E T R I C M A N A G E M E N T . C O M BUSINESS MERCHANDISING I WOULD be willing to bet most of you who are actively involved in clinical practice have patients who truly en- joy and appreciate the care you give. Many are loyal, not thinking they would go anywhere else for their regular, comprehen- sive eye exams. en. . . your stomach clenches in exasperation when your staff tells you a long-standing patient is coming in to see you because his red eye hasn't gone away aer he visited the local minute clinic. Why, oh why, didn't he think of you in the first place? Consider the following ideas to help patients think of you as their primary option for red eye care. BECOME A CLOSER I'm a closer. Yes, I believe in the good, strong close of every patient encounter, appointment or chance run-in. I may sound like a broken record, but for those of you with kids, you know that something sometimes needs to be repeated 100 times before it sinks in. e same, my friend, applies to our patients. ey may hear your words, "Remember, come and see us if you have any red, ir- ritated, painful eyes, as we see pa- tients all the time for those prob- lems," but, it just doesn't sink in because maybe they think, "Yeah, but that's never happened to me. . ." and out the other ear it goes. So then, I repeat. And, as much as you hate for your pa- tients to have unresolved red-eye issues, those are the patients most likely to come and see you the next time the condition pops up. SHARE WITH YOUR STAFF So, what else can be done be- sides the once-yearly verbal vol- ley? First, make sure your staff understands how to triage and what it is you do treat in the office. What I have found most helpful, as well, is to share with the staff what the problem actually was for the red eye patient. A large percentage of patients call the office claiming "pink eye" when, in fact, they have allergies, or inflammation, or dry eye. I think it's important for staff to know the outcome of their dili- gent scheduling so they can speak with conviction to patients in the future. ENCOURAGE THE ONE-TIME VISIT Oentimes, a patient is rather sheepish when coming in for the "second opinion" visit with you, their primary eye care pro- vider. Convenience, or health- care shopping, is sometimes the impetus for the initial deci- sion to go "generic" on their red eye diagnosis. I gently remind patients that the inconvenience of the second appointment, time spent suffer- ing, cost of not one, but two, vis- its plus, oentimes, having to dis- card ineffective ophthalmic drugs for the new, correct medication, far outweighs what would have, and, oentimes, should have, been a one-time visit to my office. It's a lesson that usually needs to be taught only once. With health care changes on the horizon, we will continue to see the rise of convenience- made and price-influenced decisions. Use these times as opportunities to educate your patients on red-eye manage- ment, hopefully, before they need your rescuing. OM YES, WE TAKE CARE OF THE RED EDUCATE PATIENTS ON RED EYE CARE BEFORE THEY NEED YOUR HELP OFTENTIMES, A PATIENT IS SHEEP- ISH WHEN COMING IN FOR A "SECOND- OPINION" VISIT. GINA M. WESLEY, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O. DR. WESLEY practices at Complete Eye Care of Medina, a Vision Source practice, which she opened in 2008. She was honored as Minnesota's Optometrist of the Year in 2011. Email drwesley@cecofme dina.com, or visit tinyurl.com/OMcom ment to comment on this article.

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