The Optometric Minute

“Think About Your Eyes:” How Awareness & the Dr. Locator Drive Patients to Exam Chairs

March 29, 2017

Brian O’Donnell, OD; Ken Daniels, OD; and Gail Correale, OD, discuss how Think About Your Eyes (TAYE) is driving patients into their exam chairs by raising awareness of the importance of an annual comprehensive exam. The doctors note how the national TAYE media campaign enables them to have a strong digital presence with its doctor locator, and how they benefit from linking their practice web site to educational materials on the TAYE site. They believe TAYE’s message of keeping refraction tied to eye health is a winning one for both their patients and their practice.

 

Marge Axelrad, senior vice-president, Jobson Optical Group, and editorial director of Vision Monday, Roger Mummert, content director, Practice Advancement Associates, Jobson Optical Group, along with editorial teams from Vision Monday and Review of Optometric Business, discuss how the Think About Your Eyes national media campaign has helped raise awareness of the importance of eyecare with practice owners Kenneth Daniels, OD, FAAO, Dipl. ABO, owner of See Life – Hopewell & Lambertville Eye Associates in Hopewell and Lambertville, N.J., Brian O’Donnell, OD, owner of NEWERA Eye Care in Shivertown, Penn., and Gail Correale, OD, owner of Long Island Vision Care in Westbury, N.Y. John Torre, executive director of TAYE, and Laurel O’Connor, TAYE marketing and communications manager, note the difference the campaign has made, including generating 828,463 exams nationwide in 2015.

Torre says dentistry offers an ideal model for optometry to follow in promoting the importance of an annual exam. Just as many people wouldn’t think of going more than six months without a dental cleaning and checkup, Torre says he hopes TAYE will do the same for optometry, creating a mindset so that many people wouldn’t dream of missing their annual comprehensive exam. ODs can get a basic listing on TAYE’s doctor locator, with their name and contact information, for free, but for a paid premium listing, practice owners can get a listing that includes a photo, information about the insurance the practice takes, a link to the practice web site and user activity tracking and reporting that shows the practice how many patients are being driven to their practice site from TAYE.

Dr. O’Donnell joined TAYE shortly after the program was successfully piloted because as a small practice that prides itself on having a proactive marketing strategy, he appreciated the ability of the campaign to educate patients about the need for an annual exam, and through the doctor locator, to let them know that he could provide that to them. Dr. Daniels finds TAYE a valuable resource in enhancing his practice’s digital presence, and the ability of his practice to educate patients. He is impressed with the “patient friendly” educational tools available on the TAYE site. Dr. Correale appreciates that TAYE not only educates the public on the need for an annual eye exam, but the need to take children to the eye doctor annually, too. She has a promotional video from TAYE running on a loop in her reception area, along with TAYE print materials patients can take home with them.

Dr. Daniels says TAYE does a great service emphasizing quality over pricing in its messaging, noting the importance of considering quality equally, or more than, price when considering where to go for eyecare. He says TAYE’s health-first message puts the focus on the prevention of eye disease, and how an eye exam can sometimes help a patient’s health team diagnose a serious systemic condition. Dr. O’Donnell says the surveys he regularly conducts of his patients proves that patients of all ages, including Millennials, appreciate good quality and service, so TAYE is helpful is pointing out the quality a practitioner like himself can provide. Dr. Correale says TAYE is valuable in how it reaches young people who can now easily visit TAYE’s site on their phone, click on the doctor locator, then click on a button to place a call, or click a link on the doctor’s site to make an appointment, and then come in for comprehensive care.

Dr. Daniels says he still likes to recall patients the old-fashioned way, via postal mail, but finds it important to compete online with the convenience of sites like 1-800, so he offers 24/7 contact lens ordering on his site, the ability to get in touch with his practice at any time, on any day, and the ability to make an appointment online. Dr. O’Donnell keeps in touch with patients, also sending material like recall cards through postal mail, along with patient birthday cards, and even cards congratulating patients on milestones like graduations or the birth of a child. He and his staff monitor recall success, and work harder at getting the message TAYE sends of the importance of an annual exam when recall rates stagnate, or begin to drop.

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