Prescribing ophthalmic devices
By Chad Fleming, O.D., AOAExcelTM Business & Career Coach
Many optometrists watch reimbursements continue to plummet while cost-of-goods and staff salaries are on the rise. In a market like this, how can any OD continue to be profitable in the dispensary? Being a better communicator is one way to start.
"How can any OD continue to be profitable in the dispensary? Being a better communicator is one way to start."
In today's culture, the OD who is taking his or her responsibilities as a prescribing optometric physician is the one who is winning. Patients come to you to resolve an eye problem they have. You diagnose the problem and then prescribe a solution. So why is there a disconnect between a doctor prescribing medication and a doctor prescribing ophthalmic devices?
At the end of an exam, most ODs will communicate the solution to the patient's problem. It then becomes not what your solution is, but how you deliver that solution. When you "recommend," there is not a definitive conclusion that the patient feels will resolve their problem. A recommendation is more like a suggestion—you can take it or leave it. Contrary to the "take it or leave it" perception, when you "prescribe," there is a definitive solution that is a one-to-one match. Patient problem: doctor solution.
Here are three examples you can use to "prescribe" ophthalmic devices, which will resolve your patient's problems and allow you to keep up with the rising cost of running an optometric practice:
1. Blue light.
Research supports prescribing lenses that filter out the harmful blue light emitted from computer screens, tablets and smartphones. This filtering technology can also protect those patients who are genetically predisposed to macular degeneration. Get more information about these lenses from your ophthalmic product sales representative, then start prescribing the appropriate lens to patients to protect them from the many hours spent on their digital devices.
2. Anti-reflective coating.
According to a recent statistic noted from a prominent lab in the United States, 28 percent of patients walk out of an office with anti-reflective (AR)-coated lenses. Many ODs believe their patients cannot afford to add AR-coated lenses. Surprisingly, many practices whose patients are primarily blue-collar are prescribing their way to 65 percent and higher AR-coated lenses.
3. One-day modality contact lenses.
Living in one of the leading cities for dry eye and allergies, it's not difficult to find a reason to prescribe one-day contact lenses. With upwards of 50 percent of my patients wearing them, our practice has found that listening to the needs of patients usually results in a reason to prescribe one-day lenses. Initially, the concern is the cost of the lenses, yet we will prescribe an antibiotic-steroid generic combination drop that can cost around $100. It is all in the communication, as transitioning patients to a one-day modality will appear like you are selling them something if you dance around the new way of thinking about lenses instead of communicating how you will resolve their problems or improve their eye health.
Be bold and use the power of your designation and prescribe ophthalmic devices.