By Ryan Williams
COO, Dr. Ted Brink & Associates
July 15, 2015
An effective presentation of daily disposables benefits both patient and practice. Outlined here are staff training steps to make that happen.
SET GOALS. Assess how many patients are currently in daily disposables, and set a growth goal for a year from now
TRAIN STAFF. Use resources, such as those from ABB OPTICAL GROUP, to train staff to present, educate and field questions from patients about daily disposables.
FOLLOW-UP. Several times a year, hold follow-up training sessions to hone your daily disposables message to patients.
As the chief operating officer of a 10-location, 14-OD practice, I’ve often heard from our doctors that daily disposable contact lenses are by far the bestoptionfor our patients’ eyes. For that reason, our practice trains staff to reinforce the doctor’s prescription for this modality with help from ABB OPTICAL GROUP, which offers daily disposable training resources for staff.
We have a policy or objective(or professional stance) of promoting daily disposables as the healthiest contact lensoption, one that promotes good compliance and comfort. I oversee revenues, and our analysis shows thatthis option is more profitable for ourpractice than other modalities.
Set Goals for Improvement
Some 35 percent of spherical patients, 19 percent of toric patients and 19 percent of multifocal patients in our practice are currently in daily disposable contact lenses. Our goal is to get 50 percent of all contact lens wearers in our practice into daily disposable contacts.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Daily disposables were dispensed to a median of 10 percent of contact lens patients, when last measured in2012by the Management & Business Academy.
Practice founded: 1995
Support Staff: 50
Comprehensive Exams: 34,000 annually
Annual Revenues: $7 million
Good for the Patient & Good for the Practice
Studies within our practice show that daily disposable wearers are more compliant, so we see them more frequently for their exams. The professional revenue alone has an impact on our business, and since patients aren’t over-wearing their lenses, they purchase the proper amount of lenses throughout the year, also enhancing our revenue. This is good for practice profitability, but it’s also good for the patient who keeps their eyes healthier and more comfortable by having fresh lenses to put in their eyes every day.
Our doctors believe that over-wearing occurs at a much lower rate with daily disposablesthan withother modalities due to how the lenses are presented, along with the design features built into lenses such as the Dailies Aqua Comfort Plus lenses by Alcon.
Define Daily Disposable Education Roles
Doctors inform patients that daily disposables are the safest, healthiest and most convenient way to wear contacts. The support staff focuses on the health and convenience of not having to use contact lens solution, and also, the increased comfort of putting in a fresh lens every day.
Train Staff to Reinforce Daily Disposable Message
After the doctor prescribes daily disposable contact lenses in the exam roomand fully explains the benefits of this modality, it is essential that the rest of the staff back up the doctor’s message. Staff needs to be able toclarify this further in case the patient has questions.
To ensure our staff understands the benefits of daily disposables, and also understands how to communicate the message to patients, we have them undergo training delivered by ABB OPTICAL GROUP. We don’t pay anything extra for these training sessions. This is a huge benefit to being an ABB OPTICAL GROUP client. They are focused on growing our business, not pushing a certain brand or lens. Thistrainingis ongoing within the practice at the office level using real statistics from the monthly report produced by ABB, as well as after-hours small-group training which allows for more open discussion and sharing of best practices. For the after hours meetings,we tend to pull staff from several locations, which creates a great environment for sharing.
Everyone in the office went through group training, presented right in our office, and then we did specialized training with each staff member, so theywould understandtheir role in the process. The ongoingin-office traininglasts about an hour, andis presentedin a lunch-and-learn format a few times a year. The more specialized trainingis presentedin a three-hour dinner format, so we can spendmore time discussing how important each technician’s role isto the process.These dinnersinclude sharing practice statistics compared to national statistics, discussing our culture and role-play exercises.
Role Playing an Effective Training Tool
After first listening to a presentation on the key benefits of daily disposables, such as how the modality aids compliance and keeps eyes healthy and comfortable, staff then divide into groups to role-play the conversation. Hearing how they, and each of their fellow staffers, explain daily disposables to patients, highlights areas where improvement is needed.
Daily Disposable CLs: Have the Conversation with Patients
ROLE PLAY: Explainingthe benefits of switching from another modality
“Well, Judy, I know how hard it can be to get used to a new contact lens routine, but you’re really going to be happy you made this change. You’ll find it much easier to remember to change the lenses on time (just throw them out every night), and remembering the proper wear and care schedule will keep your eyes much more comfortable.”
ROLE PLAY: Overcoming cost concerns
“It’s true these contacts are more expensive than the monthly lenses you’ve been wearing, but the benefits make it worth it. After all, it’s hard to put a price tag on the health and comfort of your eyes. Daily disposables may make the difference between being able to comfortably wear your lenses all day, and having to take them out the minute you get home, or even eventually no longer being able to wear them comfortably every day. Plus, if you purchase an annual supply, you receive a rebate, which helps offset the cost.” —Ryan Williams, COO, Dr. Ted Brink & Associates
Follow-Up with Ongoing Training
Like any skill, presenting, educating and fielding questions about daily disposables needs to be practiced, or else staff becomes rusty. Ongoing training allows you and your staff to review the process that is taking place outside the exam room whenever daily disposables are prescribed, so you know where you may be missing opportunities to provide these contacts to patients.
Keep Message Consistent & Offer Trials
Afterdoctors and staff are fully educated, and on the same page about thedaily disposable message, the key is to then stay consistent. Moving existing wearers into daily disposable lenses requires a consistent message deliveredto every patient who enters the office. We want every patient to experience daily disposable lenses, so we offer trial lenses to patients as often as possible. In this case, seeing (and feeling) really is believing