Look ma, no Web site

June 1, 2012

As the technology arms race proceeds, having a Web site no longer constitutes being on the cutting edge for an optometric practice.

Atlanta-As the technology arms race proceeds, having a Web site no longer constitutes being on the cutting edge for an optometric practice. Justin Bazan, OD, of Brooklyn, NY, has even given up a practice Web site while maintaining the domain name and using it to direct viewers to his Facebook page. "Technology is important, and we know we have to keep up with it," he said.

Facebook gets people to engage with him and share information, and that time-honored practice builder, word of mouth, now happens mainly online, he said.

To increase the effectiveness of Facebook, Dr. Bazan combined it with an online scheduler and at the same time eliminated the office phone. If people are comfortable enough with technology to book their own flight arrangements instead of working with a travel agent, they should be capable of making medical appointments without talking to a scheduler, he said.

"People can make an appointment at any given time of the day," he said. "On non-business hours, people are making appointments. On holidays when we're closed, people are making appointments. When I don't have somebody at the front desk, people are able to make appointments. A lot of appointments are generated simply because we have this ability to book at any time."

The other key feature on his practice's main Facebook page is the link to its Yelp page, where people can read about the experiences others have had. "We know that people are not just online searching, they're online researching," Dr. Bazan said.

Efficiency enhanced

The practice has reduced overhead by eliminating the salary for an employee to answer the phone and the services needed to support the phone scheduling system, a total of about $160,000 a year, he said.