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4 technologies that improve patient interactions


Many technologies have hit the scene to help improve the way doctor and patients interact. One OD gives the four technologies that have helped take her doctor/patient interactions to the next level.

The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica. 

As a private practice owner, I am constantly reassessing my business and what it looks like for my patients to interact. I am always adding features that make my business more about my patients and less about what is convenient for me. I am convinced that it is a necessity in today’s evolving electronic world. 

Here are four technologies that have helped improve my daily patient interactions.

View the 4 technologies that improve patient interactions


1. Electronic forms

It is nice to put your paper forms online, but it is so 2010. Doing so is inefficient today. Putting a PDF form on your website requires patients to visit the site, print the form, fill it out, remember to bring it in, then hand it off to your team to manually enter each and every line.

Related: 3 steps to success in clinical practice

Implementing online forms with fillable fields that auto-populate directly into our records has been a time saver. I would not have it any other way. Our patients can now submit forms via phone or tablet anywhere they might choose to do so with no printing required.

Up next: Text messaging


2. Text messaging

I have a love-hate relationship with phones, like any good millennial. If something can be sorted out via text message it is quicker, easier, and less disruptive for everyone. That is why I have taken advantage of a new program called Conversations by Solutionreach. It allows patients to text the office landline number.

Related: How to prevent no-shows in your practice

Now, we can receive messages and field questions without the interruption of the phone ringing. Plus, it is more convenient for our patients. I know I am not the only one with a busy day that does not allow the time for a phone call. I enjoy the ability to fire off a quick text and change my appointment or find out my glasses are in.

Up next: Online scheduling


3. Online scheduling

Nothing makes me happier in life as a practice owner than waking up in the morning and seeing an alert that a patient made an appointment overnight. Since implementing my online scheduler in October 2016, I have found that patients like to schedule on weekends, late at night, early in the morning, and even throughout the workday without having to call.

Related: The false security of a full schedule

Patients appreciate the ability to schedule appointments themselves. Not only does this cater to what is most convenient for our patients, it frees up the phone and keeps us open for scheduling 24 hours per day. We now live in a world where we get things done while sitting on the couch at night binging on our favorite Netflix show. Make it easy for your patients to schedule on their time, not yours.

Up next: Subscription based services


4. Subscription-based services

We can now subscribe to monthly dog food, human food, makeup, fitness boxes, and more. Why not bring the subscription-based service craze to your practice in a way that promotes ocular health and is a win-win for both OD and patient?

Recently I became aware of The Lens Butler and quickly integrated it into my practice. Like many other subscription lens services, The Lens Butler is designed to make it easier to purchase a yearly supply on a monthly basis rather than yearly.

Unlike other services, The Lens Butler is committed to partnering with independent practices. So far, The Lens Butler has provided another option for my patients and I am very excited to see the impact it will have.

Related: Glasses and contact lenses: Have they become a commodity?

Customer service and technology successful together

I will always be an advocate for the importance of customer service in independent optometry. Being an early adopter of technology is one way to provide above and beyond service for our patients.

Have you tried any of the technologies listed above? Have any other cool cutting-edge programs you are using? I would love to hear about them! 

Read more Optometry Times blogs here

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Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
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