Insights From Our Editors

Post-LASIK Patients: More or Less Likely to Have Eyes Examined Recently?

Having LASIK surgery doesn’t make patients less likely to see you for an eye exam, findings from The Vision Council’s Eyewear Habits of Refractive Surgery/LASIK Patients suggest. In fact, according to the report, people who have had a refractive surgery procedure were slightly more likely to have had an eye exam within the past six months or the past 12 months. Some 43.8 percent of the total adult population has had an eye exam within the past year, while 49.5 percent of all refractive surgery patients have had their eyes examined within the past year.

One of the key components of your internal marketing plan is getting your current patients to return. Getting patients to return is the life blood of every practice. The business world calls this repeat business. It is very difficult to have a profitable practice without repeat business.

The best approach to having repeat business is to create a system. It should contain at least these five parts.

1) Prescribe the recall date in the exam room.
2) Give a medical reason or a functional vision reason for every return visit.
3) Use the following script: “You need to see me in [insert time in days, weeks or months] because [insert medical reason or a functional vision reason].” Do not use the script “I need to see you…”
4) Utilize a pre-appointment system.
5) Utilize technology to assist the recall system.

While we think of getting current patients to return, we also need to keep the bigger picture in mind which is: every time patients receive care in our offices, they should experience an improvement in their quality of life. There clearly is a benefit to the patient to return to the practice when it is done correctly. To find how well this is happening in your practice, ask staff at an office meeting to answer these questions:

1. Specifically, how do we focus on communicating to patients how we are going to improve their quality of life? Can we do this better?
2. Specifically, how do we make the patient experience so amazing they would never go anywhere else? Can we do this better?

Since practice management rule #1 is “measure to manage,” here are three numbers to measure that will give you great insight into how well your practice is managing your repeat business.

1. What is your average per-patient income per complete exam?
2. What is the lifetime value of a repeat patient in your practice?
3. What percent of your patient population actually returns?

You can compare your practice numbers to other practices by going to mba-ce.com and downloading Key Metrics: Assessing Optometric Practice Performance.

It costs far less to get a current patient to return than it costs to convince someone who is not your patient to become your patient. This week, let’s concentrate on getting our current patients to return.

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And join more than 35,000 optometric colleagues who have made Review of Optometric Business their daily business advisor.
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And join more than 35,000 optometric colleagues who have made Review of Optometric Business their daily business advisor.