Let’s say you dropped all vision care plans tomorrow. How many patients would you lose? If your answer is more than zero percent, it’s time to reevaluate things.
OK, I’m exaggerating a little. But ask yourself this:
If your patients would leave your care simply because their insurance says so, whose practice have you really been building, yours or the insurance company’s?
A better question to ask yourself is this: what value do you offer to your patients? Can your patients get the same level of service and care down the road? No? Why not? If they leave, they certainly think they can.
As you begin your career, consider what kind of patient base you want to curate. If you want the loyal kind, you’re going to need to come up with some reasons that they need you as their eye doctor and not Dr. Discount next door.
To get you started, here are a few priceless assets .
- Medical Expertise: Correctly diagnose and treat a patient with an eye condition and you’ll
likely create a patient for life. Straightforward communication of your findings and confidence in your treatment protocol are key. Don’t sell your textbooks just yet folks.
- Vision Therapy: There exists no patient more loyal than a parent of a VT patient. Take a look around your community. Chances are, there’s a huge need for VT services. Start with the basics: CI’s and accommodative issues. Study up through COVD and OEP and take on more challenging cases as you feel comfortable.
- Don’t Give Up On Difficult Patients: I recently took on a 14 year old girl with 4 diopters of anisometropia. She had been unsuccessfully fit in soft contact lenses by multiple doctors because she had difficulty with insertion and removal. By blocking off two time slots and spending extra time teaching her and her mother how to handle the lenses, we were able to successfully fit a patient with a true need for contact lenses. We gained an entire family of lifelong patients by simply being patient!
- A Unique Optical: If you see mostly healthy patients, as many of us do, you may have little to do with your patients’ loyalty. However, don’t forget about the reason most healthy patients think they’re in your office: to get new glasses! By creating a high-end feel to your optical, you can attract patients who will refuse to go elsewhere for their eyewear because of your office’s frame selection and expert lens recommendations.
- Specialty Contact Lenses: Ortho-K, flat LASIK corneas, keratoconus, high cyl, dry eye, soft lens dropouts, multifocals, post-surgical…need I continue? It’s time we stop ignoring the need for these modalities. Buy a topographer, brush up on your fitting strategies, and when all else fails, call your lab for advice! These patients are incredibly grateful for your dedication and don’t view their contact lenses as a commodity, like so many other patients do.
There you have it. These may not be easy fixes, but if they were, everyone would be doing them! Your job security, just like any other career, is based on your value. Can anyone do your job, or do you have something more to offer?
Creating loyal patients is a fundamental key to your success as a health care provider, so take a moment to evaluate what you bring to the table.