What are the keys to patient happiness, in your opinion?
What sort of practices have you implemented to promote patient satisfaction?
What advice can you offer to ophthalmologists just starting out who may encounter an unhappy patient?
Michael P. Jones, MD
Without a doubt, the piece of technology that has proven key to patient satisfaction is the LenSx laser (Alcon) for laser-assisted refractive cataract surgery. The LenSx laser has made my surgery more predictable and my outcomes more reproducible. With quick and painless treatment times of 30 seconds or less, it is a comfortable experience for patients. In addition, the accuracy of the arcuate cuts for astigmatism and the perfectly round and centered capsulotomy improve my refractive outcomes significantly. Finally, having the laser assist in nucleus disassembly makes even the largest cataracts seem easy. If any surgeon was looking to add one piece of technology to put his or her practice over the top, the LenSx laser would be my suggestion.
Michael P. Jones, MD, is the Chief Operating Officer of Quantum Vision Centers, St. Louis, MO, and an Assistant Professor at St. Louis University Eye Institute. Dr. Jones may be reached at MJones@quantumvisioncenters.com.
Robert J. Weinstock, MD
One of the most patient and practice beneficial things I have integrated into my practice recently is ocular allergy testing. Using the DAF (Doctor’s Allergy Formula) noninvasive skin testing kit, I can quickly determine what a patient is allergic to and what is the best treatment modality. Prior to offering this service, I was taking such an unscientific and shotgun approach to treating all my patients with a red, watery, or itchy eye. Now I can get much more information about the cause of symptoms and whether it is a more allergic or more inflammatory-driven condition. The test results give me a much clearer decision pathway as to whether antihistamines are the right treatment, or whether nonsteroidals and anti-inflammatories are a better plan. The patients also feel empowered by finding out the causative agents for their symptoms and are often able to change their lifestyle to reduce exposure to the antigens they are allergic to. It has completely changed how I approach ocular surface conditions and the patient feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
Robert J. Weinstock, MD, is a cataract and refractive surgeon at The Eye Institute of West Florida in Largo. Dr. Weinstock may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gary Wortz, MD
I believe in providing a personal touch to each of my surgical patients. Therefore, I give each one my cell phone number and insist that they call me personally if they have any problems. I want my patients to know that I care about them and that I personally stand behind the results of the surgery. In this way, I’m never in the dark about the patient’s experience. When problems arise (ie, the patient didn’t get his or her drops called in, or he or she was not informed of the arrival time at the surgery center), I hear about it immediately and can take corrective action immediately. My accessibility and willingness to be engaged in the process ensures quality control.
Gary Wortz, MD, is a cataract and refractive surgeon at Koffler Vision Group in Lexington, Kentucky. Dr. Wortz may be reached at email@example.com.