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How Many Parents Take Children to an Independent vs. Corporate ECP?

Independent eyecare practitioners seem to be the provider of choice for parents who have taken their child to receive an eye exam sometime within the past two years, according to The Vision Council’s VisionWatch 2014 Parent Child Vision Care Report. Some 49 percent of all parents with children who have received an eye exam within the past 24 months took their child to an independent ECP for that exam. About 15.5 percent of parents who have taken their children for an eye exam in the past two years went to an optical chain (such as Lenscrafters or Hour Eyes) for the child’s last exam. Optical chains were a particularly common choice for parents with children between the ages of 14 to 17, and parents who were willing to spend more than $100 on their children’s eyewear. An additional 11.5 percent of parents took their child to a mass merchandiser location for the child’s most recent eye exam. Mass merchandisers were especially popular among parents not willing to spend more than $100 on their children’s eyewear.

Make sure you are using QR and web sites to manage information you want to communicate to patients and parents. The first place to start is to look at information that is already out there. Let’s focus this on pediatric information. Here are web sites you need to visit for information about pediatric eye exams.

The place to start is with the AOA Optometric Clinical Practice Guidelines: Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination (CPG2). It can be found here: http://www.aoa.org/documents/optometrists/CPG-2.pdf. This document contains information about epidemiology of eye and vision disorders in children; examination of infants and toddlers; examination of preschool children; examination of school-aged children; and management of children.

From this document on page 35 is the Recommended Eye Examination Frequency for the Pediatric Patient.

On the COVD web site, under the Patients and Parents tab, is helpful information about vision and learning; research for vision therapy; vision conditions; and vision and learning month. These resources can be found by going here: http://www.covd.org/?page=ADD_Vision.

The COVD web site also contains the Convergence Insufficiency Symptom Survey. It can be found here: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.covd.org/resource/resmgr/parent/symptom_survey.pdf. This is a good document to download and use with patients.

It is also important to know about other sites on the internet because your patients will be visiting them. Here are three to review.

When should you have an eye exam? This web site talks about eye exams at every age: https://www.vsp.com/eye-examinations.html.

One in four have a vision problem that can cause problems in learning and behavior. This web site highlights those numbers while discussing children’s vision: http://www.thinkaboutyoureyes.com/articles/prevention-care/kids-vision

What is the difference between a vision screening and an eye exam? This web site talks about that: https://www.vsp.com/vision-screening.html

Your action plan for this week is to review your digital information for pediatric vision care. After reviewing the web sites above, did you come up with any changes you want to make to the information you give to patients in your practice or that you have on your web site?

Take this one step further. Can you think of creative ways to share digital information with your patients? Consider these two ideas to get you started thinking:

1) Push digital information in the exam room to the patient. “Mrs. Johnson, I’m sending you a link right now to our web site to the section that discusses the problem we found with your son’s vision today.”

2) Create a QR code information station in your reception area and exam rooms. Instead of just having paper pamphlets discussing vision problems in your brochure rack, have a poster on the wall that lists common problems with a QR code next to each problem taking the patient right to the information on your web site (or other web sites).

QR’s are easy to create. Just go to a free QR creation program such as http://www.qrstuff.com/. Follow the easy directions and create a QR. Here’s a QR that will take you right to Review of Optometric Business:

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