From the front desk, to the technician, to the optometrist, all staff should be well-educated on the visual needs of today’s patients as well as on the latest technology in contact lenses and best practices for identifying potential contact lens candidates. ODs should not assume that determining a patient’s interest in contact lens wear is only their job—it’s everyone’s job.
Follow these four tips when engaging employees to help identify patients who may be good contact lens candidates.
1. Involve all staff in contact lens education
Ensuring that all staff is knowledgeable in the latest contact lens technology is imperative in identifying and securing contact lens candidates and contact lens upgrades. In our practice, doctors and staff don’t assume that doing so is only one person’s job—it’s everyone’s job. Consider incentivizing staff members to learn more about innovative contact lens advancements, which in turn will help them best meet the needs of the patients in the practice.
One way to better meet the needs of the patients is to work with local sales representatives to educate the staff on the latest contact lens products and technology on the market.
Our office hosts a complimentary breakfast staff meeting during which contact lens sales representatives discuss the latest lens technology. Our staff appreciates the invitation to join because they can learn about something new on the market while having the opportunity to ask representatives questions. By hosting these open meetings, sales reps can educate staff to understand what market needs new lens technologies are fulfilling, providing them with the necessary data to cater to all types of patient needs and lifestyles.
Another route to involve your staff is providing hands-on training. This may help them feel even more comfortable when speaking about the product benefits with patients. Fit your staff with the latest in contact lens technology to provide them the opportunity to become clinically comfortable with the lenses and see how they perform.
As an example, a contact lens manufacturer extended its product line with a toric lens design. Working with our sales representative, we organized an all-staff event to discuss the features and benefits of the latest toric lenses and the importance of having completed product portfolios. Following the session, a few staff members were fitted with the lens, and now the entire team feels confident in approaching patients about the possibility of wearing these contact lenses.
2. Get to know patients and their lens wear habits
Taking the time to get to know patients and understanding their contact lens-wearing habits should be a priority for the entire staff, not just the doctor.
This understanding begins when a patient first schedules his appointment. Arm your staff with prompts on how they can naturally weave in questions about patients’ glasses and contact lens-wearing habits. This communication may happen through email, over the phone, and at the office during the appointment itself.
For example, if a patient schedules an appointment to update her contact lens prescription, the receptionist can share that the office has the latest in contact lens technology and that the doctor looks forward to discussing these lenses during the patient’s upcoming visit.
If a patient is looking to update his glasses, our staff asks about his experience with contact lenses (or lack thereof) to share with the doctor prior to the appointment.
For example, a staff member might say, “I see your appointment is specific to your current glasses prescription, and your records show that you have been dealing with presbyopia. Would you be interested in learning more from your doctor about innovative contact lens technology that is helping other patients with similar vision concerns see comfortably and clearly?”
In addition, when patients arrive to the office for their appointments, staff should reignite the conversation around contact lenses without being pushy. This can happen by the staffer asking patients if they brought their glasses or contact lenses to the visit and referencing the phone conversation patients had previously with staff about trying new contact lens technology.