By Robert L. Bass, OD, FAAO
Medical eyecare services are an essential part of modern optometry, contributing significant revenues, and adding to your value as a health care practitioner. Make sure patients know you provide these services.
Medical eyecare services are a vital part of the patient care I provide. I am a trained and licensed optometrist. Patients come to me for eyecare, not just for glasses and contact lenses, as important as those things are. In a competitive marketplace, medical services may be the future of optometry.
From a business standpoint, medical treatment is profitable, with high net and very little product used in the examination. Medical eyecare has evolved to be 68 percent of my overall gross, with optical at 32 percent of gross.
Dilate & Take Photos and Co-Manage
Dilated eye exams and retinal photos, and correspondence to other healthcare providers, is where it starts in promoting patient medical care as a key part of my practice. Doing this leads to referrals from endocrinologists, internists, hospital emergency rooms and others. It also leads to co-management of cataract, laser treatment and traumatic brain injury patients.
Dilated eye exams, retinal photos and tonometry lead to the discovery and treatment of glaucoma, along with the services of visual fields, OCT, and glaucoma surgery co-management. It leads to the discovery of retinal disease, such as retinal detachments, macular degeneration and then co-management of those patients.
Post Medical Eyecare-Related Content to Social Media
I have weekly to bi-weekly posts on Facebook that touch on medical eyecare. These posts emphasize everything from the use of sunglasses in preventing eye disease like macular degeneration to general physical health to seasonal health news. One staff member one day a month sets up Facebook for the month.
E-blast Medical Eyecare News & Post to Practice Web Site
Quarterly we e-mail topical articles to current patients on eye disease and the related services we offer. On our practice web site we have a library of articles on eye disease and eyecare. My wife works on the e-mails to patients, and I work on the site.
Add Medical Eyecare Info to Recall. When we send recall notices by postal mail, we also include brochures about eye disease and how our practice screens and treats those diseases.
Educate Patients. As patients leave the office, we say something like, “Before we see you again, if you have any concerns about your eyes, please call us and we can help with an appointment or advice.” We make sure the patient knows my office can take care of all their eyecare needs with glasses, contacts, medical treatment and surgery co-management.
At the end of the annual exam, I say: “I want to see you next year, not for what you know with own your eyes (like that you can’t see as well), but for what you don’t know, and only I can tell you with a comprehensive exam.”