One of the greatest challenges facing practitioners today is gaining patient trust. Patient trust is essential to build a long-term, mutually beneficial patient relationship within the eye care industry. Education is at the heart of building a relationship, whereby patients are informed about their conditions, eye health and treatment plan. This enables patients to feel empowered to make informed decisions and take proper care and management of their eyes.
The introduction of digital acuity software and technology within the practice enables the optometrist and staff to improve patient education in a familiar way – digitally. Various aspects of the software should assist the optometrist in explaining the prescribed lens add-ons using visual images, creating a better understanding and over all positive visual experience. Through this method, patients better understand their eye care needs, treatment options and can make their own informed decisions regarding the prescription treatment plan. Patients are inclined to spend more if they know what the benefits of the prescribed lenses are for their vision and eye health
Studies show that informed customers spend more. Patients that understand their conditions are more inclined to follow their practitioners’ recommendations and return sooner for regular check-ups as well. The modern-day patient craves information, and those practices who better educate their patients, see their patients return more regularly. Patient education very often starts in the consultation room chair, but ideally should not end after the consultation. Having a cohesive team and frontline staff that are also well-educated means that patients will receive consistent information, further building trust in the practitioner’s recommendations, resulting in patients who are happier to spend more on better treatment.
Enabling patients to engage and share information about their visual needs and treatment plan after the consultation is vital as it can be very difficult for patients to retain or relay the info to a spouse or family member. One of the simplest methods to ensure better understanding is through take-home information. Sending a patient an eyecare report to their devices or smartphone as part of the consultation further enhances patient experience and delivers in a familiar way – digitally.
With so much information available in the digital world today, generic content has low engagement and is often over-looked. Delivering authentic content that is customised to communicate the practitioner’s recommendations and diagnosis, tailored from the practice, results in a better patient education and greater spend on better care.
An added benefit of the patient receiving the information after the examination, allows the patient to view the material at a time convenient to them. Patient content sent to the patients’ mobile devices should enable further explanation on their specific eye conditions, pathology and lens add-ons as the consultation time is also limited. Patients have come to expect that the eye care professional has upskilled themselves and knowledge to provide the best care and discuss the latest treatment options. Today much of the health information found on the internet is inaccurate or linked to product advertising found on a competitor’s website. People spend more and more time researching and consuming information than ever before, so delivering an unbiased clinical report to the patient after the consultation is imperative to build long-term trust.
Direct patient marketing is one of the ways that a practice can invest time and resources to communicate with customers. SMS and email service providers exist in almost every country in the world and with a bit of time and effort can be used to send bulk marketing content. Finding a marketing company or dedicated team member to manage this process daily will result in a better understanding of the success and ultimately patient appointment bookings. One of the most effective ways to get patients to return to their practitioner is to communicate the reason they should return, based on their case history and doctors’ findings from their last eye examination.