This Podcast is in Partnership with Transitions Optical
“Every day we are hustling,” Dr. Glover states at the top of the show. Many doctors are feeling extra-busy these days, but being busy doesn’t mean that you are being successful. How do you make sure that your patients go on to purchase the solutions that you spend so much time educating in the exam room? Our guests on this podcast are Dr. Susan Keene, owner of a 4-location private practice across Virginia and Tennessee called Envision Eye Care, and Mr. Mark Hinton an optician and renowned eyecare consultant behind eYeFacilitate. Dr. Keene has noticed since COVID-19 closures earlier this year, her offices are busier than ever. They are still operating at a reduced patient flow to make time for additional cleaning. But even though they are seeing less patients, they are seeing an increase in their per-patient revenue. “Our June and July were our two best months ever,” she shares.
What is the secret to her success? Dr. Keene and Mr. Hinton outline some of the keys to patient communication that have led to successful patient outcomes. Communicating to your patients the benefits for them personally is essential to influencing their behavior. Dr. Keene hired Mr. Hinton as a consultant for her practice several years ago, and through working with him she learned the correct wording to connect her prescription to patient outcomes. “I have found that there are a few key phrases that I will say that really resonate with patients,” Dr. Keene states.
- For patients with drusen or other macular changes, she tells patients that she sees signs of “toxic damage inside the eye.” Hinton advises doctors to avoid the term “UV or UV rays” in favor of “sun damage.” His extensive market research has shown that patients don’t connect the term UV specifically to something dangerous, but using terms like “toxic damage” or “sun damage” convey the severity of the risks involved.
- Dr. Keene states that she combines discussions about lifestyle, diet, and exercise with protective eyewear for a holistic approach to the patient’s findings. “We have to do everything in our power to stop this today. I’m going to prescribe glasses for you that are not only going to help your vision, but they are going to protect your vision long term. If I do a good job, you’ll see well today. If I do a great job you’ll see well for the rest of your life.”
- Telling personal stories is a great way to connect with patients about the real risks to vision and dangers of ignoring the exam findings. Dr. Keene shares with patients that her grandmother lost vision from wet macular degeneration, and her mother is also being treated for the condition. “I tell patients all the time, I’m going to protect you the way I do my own family.”
- Don’t think about selling. Dr. Keene has 9 associate doctors across her 4 locations, and she encourages them to throw the idea of selling out the window. “If you do what’s in the patient’s best interest, they will be loyal to the practice and we will, by default, make money.”
“The patient needs to hear from the doctor what’s in it for them,” Hinton explains. “What do they stand to gain? What do they stand to lose if they don’t take your advice?” The opportunity is to connect with your patients to buy-in to the why behind all of your prescriptions, whether for medical treatment or a glasses prescription. It’s also important to explain to patients about the importance for medical grade products to offer true protection for the eyes. “Many doctors don’t know that 80% of the imported over- the-counter sunglasses are unregulated and absolutely junk. They are acrylic lenses with a spray-on UV and no backside AR. When you don’t have a backside AR on sunglass lenses, the reflectance value is approximately 30%.” That’s not the kind of protection that is doing our patients any service. “Prescribe sunglasses that you are confident will filter out all of that damaging light,” Hinton states. He encourages opticians to use the UV penlight that you use to check in Transitions® lenses to check patient’s eyewear for proper protection right in front of the patient.
How do you make the handoff between doctor and optician more successful? It’s important to have the conversation about any eyewear you have prescribed with the patient, and not with the optician. “Make sure you look directly at the patient during the explanation and hand off to the optician,” Hinton says. “Then ask your patient for buy-in after you explain all of your prescriptions by asking, ‘Does that make sense?’” When the patient says yes, they are emotionally making a commitment to your prescribed solutions. He also encourages opticians to use a notepad and take notes during the handoff to record the words that the doctor uses. If the doctor says “toxic” the optician should write that down and use it when discussing glasses in the optical. Repeating the specific language that the doctor uses is essential to success in the optical.
“What we’re prescribing is for outcomes, not products, Hinton states. “Doctors need to stop thinking about their optical as loaded with products that we sell, and recognize that these products are means to an outcome for the patient.” Knowing that the products that you carry are going to provide excellent vision and ocular health protection is essential, and giving the patient the confidence that you stand behind any purchase with a protection plan can help convey that message. Hinton encourages practices to take advantage of the free Transitions Light Up Your Sales: The Patient Protection Program to learn more tips to help you discuss protection in the exam room, hand off the patient to the optician, benchmark and set performance goals and use exam room aids As part of the Light Up Your Sales: Patient Protection Program, Dr. Keene advises offering reluctant patients a 30 Day return policy. This will be a big help in increasing your sales at a very small risk. In her experience, after trying them for 30 days, hardly any patients bring them back. “The brain needs a chance to adapt to the way lenses work with any new glasses purchase, so ensuring that the patient tries them for longer than 2-3 days is essential to true success.”
Learning how to follow your metrics and setting goals over the course of the 90-day program can help set your practice up for long term success. You can find more information at TransitionsPRO.com.