The American Institute for Preventative Medicine has dubbed February Wise Healthcare Consumer Month in an effort to encourage patients to make wise decisions and to engage in better, more open dialogue with their doctors. According to the Institute, “For the most part, Americans are champ consumers. We spend a lot of time shopping for gadgets, groceries and home goods. We love sales, coupons, and consumer reviews. We vote with our dollars. But we're not such good shoppers when it comes to our own health. Studies show that Americans spend more time researching car purchases and new appliances than they do choosing doctors and health plans.”
By raising consumers’ awareness of the need to engage in their own healthcare decision making, the Institute hopes to have a long-term impact on the way healthcare consumers interact with their doctors and to encourage them to take ownership of their own care. Some of the ways in which they define a wise healthcare consumer are patients who:
- Choose their care providers carefully and thoughtfully
- Communicate with their health care providers
- Are comfortable asking questions, sharing concerns and negotiating costs
- Analyze and evaluate sources of health information
- Practice preventive care
Do you have a comprehensive communication plan in your practice? Do you dig a little deeper to make sure that you are addressing all of your contact lens patients’ needs and concerns? If you aren’t asking the right questions and maintaining an open and ongoing dialogue with your patients, you may be missing opportunities to provide them with the information – and ultimately the value – that they crave. “According to a study by UCLA, patients usually have questions, but ask them less than 10% of the time,” reports the Institute. “You can help improve this percentage in your workplace (or practice) by providing patients with tools for communication (including questions about cost of treatment).”
Frustrated by noncompliance? Take the time to explain to patients not just WHAT contact lens you are prescribing for them, but WHY… including the long-term ocular health benefits and the overall value they are receiving from your recommendations. Often patients fail to comply with recommendations for reasons ranging from lack of understanding to difficulty justifying the cost. Overcoming these concerns through meaningful discussion can result in better compliance, and ultimately, better profitability in your practice.
According to a recent health care study from Deloitte, seventy two percent of consumers are interested in texting, emailing or messaging their doctor. Tools like Eyecare Prime’s patient relationship management system, Prime Nexus®, can help you maintain those open lines of communication throughout the year, enabling you to connect with your patients through their preferred channels – when, where, and how they choose.
For more information on National Wise Healthcare Consumer Month, visit the American Institute of Preventative Medicine’s web page here.
Learn more about Eyecare Prime and talk to your sales representative about how it can help you foster better relationships with your patient base.