Treating a patient with any eye condition is a journey that involves many key players: an ophthalmologist, optometrist, and supporting staff. Each person plays a specific role in the patient’s care and there are opportunities at each step for us to work together to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. By utilizing success factors a practice already has in place, we can make a world of difference to patients while also optimizing how we operate.
Let’s start with what is arguably the most important player in the journey: the patient. Patients often have misconceptions about cataracts when they first visit the office. I often hear from patients that they believe a cataract is a film over the eye that requires some sort of peeling process to remove. This widespread misunderstanding gives myself and ophthalmologists across the country an opportunity to educate patients not only about treatment options, but also their condition. By providing this valuable information prior to our initial consultation, patients walk into my office feeling more informed, in control and at-ease with the treatment process. However, we must have the right tools to master this approach.
What ACTIVATE means for your patients
When I learned about the ACTIVATE Practice Optimization program offered by Alcon, I was excited by the opportunity to enhance practice communications, and I felt this was a solution that was right for my practice. The informative training sessions and educational materials provided through the program have helped my practice evolve and have promoted effective patient communication techniques with my staff.
Participating in ACTIVATE also helps to better manage patient expectations and increase satisfaction following surgery. I now provide relevant educational materials to advanced technology cataract patients before they arrive in the office, and I can better gauge their level of satisfaction following surgery. An asset I’ve found particularly useful is a patient satisfaction survey, which helps me to better address areas for improvement and gives me insights to share with patients who are considering surgery. Most importantly, I’ve found that I can better ease my patients’ stress that is often related to having surgery. As a result, they are more confident in their advanced technology cataract treatment decisions.
A quality patient experience is directly related to their overall office experience, including all staff member interactions. Thanks to the Alcon program, I empower each team member to take ownership of their position and take part in the process. Therefore, it is crucial to encompass a 360-degree educational approach for the entire staff. The staff is not only there to do their jobs as technicians and/or coordinators, they are tasked with helping to guide each patient through their journey from beginning to end. Through trainings specific to disease state and advanced technology cataract product features, my staff is acutely aware of how to communicate the most valuable information to patients at each step of the way.
Collaborative Care is Vital to Successful Outcomes
A key player that may be overlooked in the surgery treatment process is the optometrist, even though they are the primary source of postoperative treatment. As ophthalmologists, it’s important that we understand how vital and long-lasting the relationship is between optometrists and patients. Fostering a close partnership between the optometrist and surgeon is important to an improved patient experience, because it will ensure there are no gaps in communication from start to finish. As our collective awareness and training improves across practices, my patients are now better informed and prepared for their postoperative leg of the journey with their optometrist.
Many of the enhancements I’ve made to my practice through the ACTIVATE Practice Optimization program have been invaluable, including decreasing appointment times and improving patient satisfaction postsurgery. Through collaboration and integration of education at each step, my practice is continually improving to better serve our patients along their treatment paths. I encourage you to look at your patients’ experiences and assess how you can better serve them while improving practice outcomes.
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