The Optometric Minute

Communicating Effectively with Patients

April 22, 2015

With Amir Khoshnevis, OD, and Mike Rothschild, OD

Two practice owners discuss how they use electronic communications to differentiate their practices, and, in fact, raise the level of care they provide.

Engagement with Patients Differentiates Your Practice
Communicate the Way Patients Prefer

Patients are increasingly engaged with their health care providers, and they look to them for shared knowledge and for ways in which they will benefit, say Amir Khoshnevis, OD, and Mike Rothschild, OD. In fact, ODs can leverage new and convenient ways of communicating with patients to differentiate their practices by being patient-centric.

“We found that pre-exam engagement has worked well with patients,” explains Dr. Khoshnevis. He says that by making it easy for patients to self-schedule, and to fill out forms in advance of the exam, patients save time and see that the exam is about them personally.  “We frame that pre-visit conversation to start to disqualify the competition,” he explains. “If we ask the right questions, patients see that it’s about how we can better serve them.”

Dr. Rothschild points out that patients also value communications from their optometrist in between visits. Dr. Khoshnevis agrees. “That’s very important to keep the patient engaged,” he says. His practice applies personal information collected before and during the visit and personalizes e-mails and texts (whichever format they prefer) to increase readership. “It’s all a matter of staying in the hearts and minds of our patients and showing that we care,” he adds.

Practices vary, big-town/small-town, but common to all practices is the challenge of reaching patients in the way they prefer–in a personalized way.

“We’re both about delivering high-level precision…but that’s always balanced with the relationship,” says Dr. Khoshnevis.

It is possible, Dr. Rothschild points out, to be too focused on high-tech innovations. In his practice, he installed an automated system of e-mailing and texting patients with reminders and information. “It was great in getting us in touch with some patients we hadn’t heard from for a while,” he says. Still, he worried that older patients were less comfortable with it, and preferred a more personal touch point. “We needed to find a balance,” he adds.

Dr. Khoshnevis concurs. “We always have to listen for patient feedback and contact patients the way they want to be contacted,” he says.

Amir Khoshnevis, OD, owns Vision Source Studio 20/20 in Charlotte, N.C. To contact him: drk@studio-2020.com

Mike Rothschild, OD, owns West Georgia Eye Care in Carrollton, Ga. To reach him: mrothschild@westgaeyecare.com

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