Making the Patient Experience a Priority
An award-winning practice shares its strategies for increasing sales + service
visionArts Eyecare Center has been serving the Fulton, MO area for more than 20 years. The practice, led by James Vann, O.D., was named the 2015 Best in Patient Experience winner, a category of the new Transitions Optical Innovation Awards program, during this year’s Transitions Academy. EB asked Dr. Vann how he turns the patient experience into premium lens sales.
WHAT IS YOUR BENCHMARK FOR THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE?
I want new patients to encounter an eye exam like they never have before. I want them to realize that my staff and I care about more than just their eyes—we care about the whole person.
We believe healthy eyes start with a healthy you, and I want my patients to realize that prevention is the key to a healthy body and healthy eyes. Finally, I want new patients to leave here with any expectations of great eyecare not only met, but far exceeded.
For my existing patients, I want them to look forward to coming to their eye exam! I want them to feel confident that they will always receive the best eye health care possible from us.
WHAT DOES YOUR OFFICE FOCUS ON TO IMPROVE THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE?
Our number one focus is education. We devote a great deal of effort to explaining everything to our patients in terms that are easy for them to understand.
They understand the testing and why it is important. They understand their eye conditions, the best treatments, and how their lifestyle choices are affecting their eyes. They understand what products we are using for their vision correction and why.
Our other big focus is preventive care. Yes, we treat eye diseases, but we want our patients to understand what it takes to avoid getting them in the first place. We educate our patients on healthy eating and other lifestyle changes to assist in disease prevention; help them understand the side effects of their medications; offer biophotonic scans to detect nutrient absorption, glaucoma screenings, Optomap retinal scans, and ClearPath DS120 diabetic screenings; provide Macula Risk and Vita Risk DNA testing; and emphasize sun protection and blue light protection.
HOW HAS THAT TRANSLATED TO INCREASING PREMIUM LENS SALES?
It’s as simple as this: What’s good for the patient is good for the practice.
The time we spend educating our patients and building a rapport and trust with them ensures that we want what is best for them. The patient will purchase premium products if they understand that those are the only products that will meet their individual needs.
My staff and I take time with our patients to explain the things that are relevant to a lifetime of good vision, and then I prescribe a complete frame and lens solution to achieve that. Here’s an example: If I take the time to understand a patient’s lifestyle and then prescribe a very specific Transitions lens product based on their lifestyle needs, it will make the difference between success or failure with Transitions lenses, and will also affect the repurchase rate in the future.
Prescribe what is best for the patient every single time.
It’s that easy.
—James Vann, O.D.
At the Transitions Innovations Awards ceremony: (l-r) Matt Smith from Sutherlin Optical Lab, and VisionArts staff Gayle Bergthold, Christine Foster, Cindy Vann, and James Vann, O.D.