Reach for Excellence

Self-Assessment: Time to Update Your Patient Experience?

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

Nov. 15, 2017

When was the last time you thought about making an investment to better serve your patients? If you haven’t updated your office technology in a long time, it might be time to think about it. Many of your competitors are, The Vision Council’s First Quarter LPT Market Tracker Study suggests.

Approximately 25.2 percent of the independent ECPs, which The Vision Council surveyed in early April, bought some type of  finishing equipment, surfacing equipment, diagnostic equipment or optical software during the  first quarter of 2017. Among the independent ECPs that purchased any type of equipment, most locations purchased an average of two types of equipment/software during the Jan. Mar. 2017 period—indicating that most practices investing in their equipment and software needs purchase multiple types of different equipment/software when making investments and upgrades.

What should a 21st century practice look like with technology that is available today? Let’s walk through an examination experience and see where we could upgrade the practice. Here’s an outline of what could be done.

BEFORE THE PATIENT ARRIVES AT THE OFFICE
•    Online appointment scheduling
•    Social media used to pre-set patients to purchase
•    Text messaging to remind patients of appointments
•    Software permitting patients to fill out the pre-exam history questionnaire before arriving at the office (the information goes directly into the practice EHR)

WHEN THEY GET TO THE OFFICE
•    Kiosk check-in
•    Tablets for patients who didn’t fill out the pre-exam history questionnaire
•    Software that tracks the patient as they move through the office (generates reports on log-jams)
•    Digital internal office messaging showing who is needed where (e.g.: Doctor needed in Exam 1)
•    Video messages pre-setting patients to purchase as the patient moves through the office

EXAMINATION
•    All examination results are automatically put into the EHR from the testing equipment
•    Digital refracting system
•    Video slit lamp
•    System showing how the new Rx looks through a standard lens versus a digital front and back surface lens

OPTICAL
•    RFID chips on frames giving reports about what frames are touched, and how many times, as well as doing automatic frame inventory
•    Video screens that tell the story of the frame being touched by patients, and offer examples of similar frames
•    Online optical for frames that are not being shown in the office
•    Sophisticated method of measuring the patient in their new frame
•    3-D imaging during frame selection
•    3-D frame printing
•    Social media to help patients select the best frame
•    Social media posting patient success stories
•    System to help patients pay over time

AFTER THE EXAM
•    Automatic electronic billing
•    Automatic report generation for patients
•    Secure patient portal for patients to access their exam results and ask questions
•    Mechanism for helping patients post on Yelp and similar sites
•    Patient surveys about their experience
•    Software that assists in both patient recall and reactivating established patients who have not returned
•    Practice management software that assists in data mining
•    Patient messaging reminding them of treatment plan follow through (e.g.: when to take medications, when to replace contact lenses)
•    Automatic report generation for managers about practice Key Performance Indicators

How close does this look to your practice? Did you discover any areas needing attention right now? If so, take this week to make updates to better serve your patients and better manage your practice.

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