Myopia management is now a standard of care within the profession, and whether you’re just starting out or wanting to expand your efforts in this area, you may have questions such as, “How do I set up fees?” “How can I best communicate with parents?” and “How do I spread the word about this part of my practice?” With these key questions in mind, a panel of experts offered their insight during a CooperVision sponsored panel discussion at Optometry’s Meeting.
Establish Fees with Ease
Developing a fee structure for myopia management doesn’t need to be a daunting task. One simple approach is to first consider what the practice will charge for the lenses, and then factor in the chair time for visits within the first year, including the comprehensive exam, myopia consultation, contact lens fitting appointment, and follow-up visits.
When determining medical management fees, it’s important not to base your fee structure on what other providers in your area are charging, suggests optometrist Ariel Cerenzie, FAAO, of Vision Source Studio 20/20 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We looked at our own numbers and determined what made sense for our practice, so we looked at our chair costs. Sometimes it might be difficult to calculate, but if you can invest the time in doing so, you can feel very confident when you introduce your pricing structure to patients,” explains Dr. Cerenzie.
Also, share the rationale behind your fee structure with staff, which will empower them to present this information with confidence, she adds.
If the annual cost of lenses poses a barrier for parents, ECPs can offer families the option of ordering the lenses in a quarterly or semi-annual supply.
Customize Your Communication to Each Family
When it comes to myopia management, the child needs to be willing and motivated, but ultimately, the parents need to say yes to treatment.
As such, it’s important to meet the families where they are and customize your communication to their knowledge and awareness of myopia and its potential implications, says optometrist Ashley Tucker, FAAO, of Belaire Family Eye Care in Bellaire, Texas.
Your custom-tailored approach should also be personalized to the child and include their age of myopia onset, progression, family history, and lifestyle.
Reach into Your Virtual Aid Toolbox
During the office visit, myopia simulators can be an excellent resource in helping parents visualize how their child sees without correction and how increasing amounts of myopia will impact their daily lives.
Dr. Cerenzie will ask the parent to join her in the hallway outside of the exam room, where the mom or dad will look at a distant target through a loose plus-powered trial lens. In this scenario, if the child’s prescription was -0.25D the previous year, Dr. Cerenzie will place a +0.25D trial lens in front of the parent’s eyes, followed by a +0.75D trial lens to illustrate the child’s prescription change. Based on the child’s age, she will then simulate how they will see in 3 years with a -1.50D prescription if they continue to wear single vision glasses or contacts.
Sharpen Your Marketing Prowess: Find Your Patients from Within
If you’re looking to find patients with myopia, remember, you already have a built-in base to tap. One easy rule of thumb: Search your practice’s EHR for children with myopia who are 8-12 years old and already wearing single vision glasses or contacts.
Established families within your practice are also a prime resource, namely adult myopes with children who aren’t yet patients, and kids with myopia who have siblings.
Even if you don’t have a pediatric practice to start, you still likely have many myopic parents with children who are also myopic, says Dr. Tucker.
“Just having that conversation with parents who are myopic, asking, ‘Do you have children, and do they wear glasses or contacts?’ will allow you to deliver your services to the entire family,” she explains.
Develop a Door Knocker Mentality
Pounding the pavement can also be an effective patient-building approach. When optometrist Jason Compton, FAAO, owner of Compton Eye Associates in New York City, opened two practices cold, part of his marketing plan was shaking hands and getting facetime with pediatricians in the neighborhood. “That really skyrocketed my patient base in the practice,” he says. Another strategic referral strategy: Send letters to the pediatricians of your age appropriate patients using MiSightâ 1 day patients with information about the treatment, its benefits, and the science behind the lens.
Keep the Myopia Conversation Going with an E-mail Drip Campaign
Not every parent is going to act on your myopia control treatment recommendation on day one. For “warm leads” that express interest in treatment but aren’t quite ready to commit, Dr. Compton’s dedicated myopia management “super tech” will send a series of carefully spaced e-mails as a refresher which allows the myopia conversation to continue after the initial exam.
Look to the Future
Wherever you are in implementing myopia management at your practice, your commitment will help preserve a child’s vision and ocular health throughout their lives.