Our patients, today, are constantly exposed to the marketing strategies of online eye wear merchants and optical chains such as Walmart, Lenscrafters, and America's Best, promoting their low price eyewear; some even including free eye exams. It's not surprising these companies are capturing a huge percentage of the market; however, in my opinion, this approach has de-valued our profession. It has created a society that fails to see the value in what we do and constantly question private practice fees.
For this reason, we have to "wow" our patients; not only by providing outstanding patient care and service, but also by offering the very best and latest technology in frames, lenses, and high tech instrumentation.
Digital fundus cameras, OCTs, and Corneal Topographers, to name a few, all enhance the patient's experience and boost the "wow" factor of your office. Our patients need to know that private practice has more to offer in terms of technology and patient care, in order to select us over a discount eye care chain. Investments in such instrumentation instill our patients with the confidence that they are receiving the very best in eye care.
Our office has recently installed the Essilor Visioffice system to provide a similar experience for our patients in our optical department. Visioffice enables us to increase the precision with which our lenses are designed and fabricated for our patients. It also enables us to capture specific data necessary to order lenses such as the Varilux S 4D. It also enables our patients to wear and compare up to 4 different frames; a feature especially useful for our patients who have severe difficulty seeing without their glasses. Well trained and informed opticians can really wow patients by educating them as to the benefits of such technology. The final proof is when the patient receives their new eyewear and, hopefully, sees the difference for themselves. Obviously, other lens manufacturers, such as Hoya, Zeiss, & Shamir, to name a few, have similar types of instrumentation designed to capture data required to personalize their proprietary lenses.
Obviously, such instrumentation is expensive. However, since most private practices do not have the marketing budget of major chains for major advertising campaigns, being able to offer the latest and greatest in technology combined with ALWAYS providing outstanding patient care and service, can at least give private practice something of an edge.