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Why Don’t Your Patients Take Their Children for Annual Exams?

Many parents don’t take their child to the eye doctor because they don’t think there is a good reason to do so, according to findings from The Vision Council VisionWatch 2014 Parent Child Vision Care report. A significant portion of parents who have not taken their children for an eye exam recently (34.6 percent) believes their children are too young to experience vision problems, and therefore, do not need an exam.

Parents with only one child living at home, and parents with a child under the age of 10, were more likely than other parents to avoid taking their child for an eye exam due to the belief that their child is too young for a vision problem. Slightly more than 14 percent of parents said they have not taken their child for an eye exam recently because their child’s vision problems are only minor.

One of the revolutionary aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or simply, Obamacare, is the Essential Pediatric Vision Benefit. The key word is “essential.” Don’t miss that point. Prior to the ACA, vision care was optional, not essential. Now, vision care is essential.

We need to run that message up the flag pole and make sure all of our patients understand that the federal government calls vision care from birth through age 18 essential, not optional.

Studies have shown that 25 percent of children have vision problems. Undetected problems are unresolved problems. Many of these vision problems potentially affect both learning and behavior negatively. What a shame that many of these fixable vision problems exist and are not being treated. Today we want to put in place a two-pronged action plan. One prong is clinical and one is marketing.

CLINICAL ACTION PLAN
From a clinical perspective, click HERE to download the AOA Optometric Clinical Practice Guideline Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination. Download this practice guideline and master the information contained in the document.

Put the following link in your favorites. Download and master each of the these practice guidelines because these are the standards by which you are going to be judged: http://www.aoa.org/optometrists/tools-and-resources/clinical-care-publications/clinical-practice-guidelines?sso=y.

EDUCATIONAL ACTION PLAN
From a marketing perspective, here are links to online information to help refine your messages to your patients helping them understand the need for a pediatric eye examination:

http://www.covd.org/?page=Child_Exam

http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/comprehensive-eye-and-vision-examination/recommended-examination-frequency-for-pediatric-patients-and-adults?sso=y

https://vsp.com/childrens-eye-exam.html

http://www.allaboutvision.com/eye-exam/children.htm

After viewing these links, review your internal and external marketing messages. Here’s your action plan for marketing:
1) Update your marketing messages to be more effective.

2) Measure the number of pediatric exams.

3) Compare your number of pediatric exams this year to the number of pediatric exams last year.

4) If the number is increasing, support the increase. If the number is decreasing, change something. Einstein said that people who do the same thing and expect different results are insane.

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