In this 2-part series, we will examine the results of the EYEdea Lab, our inagural Best Practices "think tank" aimed at brainstorming some of the questions and challenges facing eye care practices today. THe results were unveiled live at VIsion Expo West earlier this year. The first problem they examined centered around the doctor-patient relationship.
In this summer's EYEdea Lab, the Best Practices honorees wondered: Are patients placing a lower value on the in-office eye exam experience, looking instead for automated procedures? Through discussions on the show floor, they learned patients very much value the personal, in-office experience and seek help in making eyecare decisions in collaboration with their eye care professionals. Furthermore, the honorees learned that patients choose to visit practices in person for something different than what is available online, making it important not to try to duplicate the online experience in the office.
"Our patients have a set of expectations about the online experience that are different than their expectations for an in-person exam," said Dr. Carrie Alfieri. "They value the interperson relationship with their doctor and staff, the knowledge and input of that team, and they view technology as an enhancement to the in-person experience - not a replacement."
Quantitative survey results* supported these findings:
The industry concern over online refraction runs counter to consumer beliefs, as illustrated in a new CooperVision survey of U.S. adults.** When asked about the accuracy of online eye tests compared to in-person eye exams:
This reveals an opportunity for eye care professionals to continually educate patients about the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and in-office exams. WHen asked which sources they most trust to recommend and explain the best options for their eye health and vision correction needs, the overwhelming majority of consumer respondents selected their eye doctor, far eclipsing all other sources, such as online medical reports and news reports.**
"While some consumers are curious about new technology, the majority trust their eye care professionals to give them the best care and advice," said Dr. Shauna Thornhill. "It is an important reminder that patients are looking for that interpersonal engagement, and we need to find the right way to incorporate technology into our practices."
"To put this into practice, we recommend minimizing tedious, non-essential tasks - like intake paperwork or excessive movement between stations ad exam rooms - to allow for more personal attention and time for discussion," added Dr. Roxanna Potter. "Consider assigning a specific staff member to escort each patient fromt he time they arrive to when they leave, giving them a very personal contact in addition to the doctor."
Return next month to read more results from the EYEdea Lab around creating the best patient experience.
* ECP Survey commissioned by CooperVision and the Florida Optometric Association. Total sample size was 126 eye care practitioners. Survey took place August 21 - September 15, 2018. The survey was carried out online.
** YouGov. survey commissioned by CooperVision. Total sample size was 1,121 adults . Fieldwork was undertaken between August 23 - 24 , 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+).