Four Ways a Patient Communication Software Will Increase Your Office Efficiencies

As Paul Coelho once said, “The eyes are the mirror of the soul and reflect everything that seems to be hidden, and like a mirror, they also reflect the person looking into them”. This quote shines a light on how significant a person’s sight is. As Optometrists, you can keep your patient’s sight in good condition so that – just like Coelho’s eyes – they too can have the ability to see everything and reflect their soul within.

It’s important to recognize – that although important – not all patients will remember to show up to the eye appointment they made with your practice a year ago. Others may not realize they are overdue for their annual eye exam. Often, offices get busy; your office staff may not have had enough time to make those calls for appointment reminders, and/or recall reminders as intended.

This is where many practices wonder how they can streamline office efficiencies, so they can continue tending to patient’s needs, while at the same time, reaching the ones they haven’t seen in a while. A simple solution is to ensure your practice has an effective patient communication software. Here are four ways it will help increase your office efficiencies:

  1. Automate Appointment Reminders- This can extremely helpful when monitoring cancelled, rescheduled, and most importantly, scheduled appointments!
  2. Encourage & Promote Returning Patients- Send out campaigns about trunk shows, email blasts about sales and promotions. Recall reminders will also ensure sure your patients remember you and come back to you when it’s time!
  3. Save Staff Time- Who wouldn’t want to save staff time? Not only are you saving on all those overtime hours, but having automated reminders going can help you and your office focus on patient care!
  4. Build Practice Reputation – you can build your practice reputation with the help of surveys and reviews and what better way to have those automatically going out too?

Patient communication software offers an abundance of features that can help your office stay in touch with patients, while saving staff time. The best way to run a business would be to find a solution that can save time, energy and allow you to focus on what grows your business, your patients.

Implementing a patient communication software gives you the luxury to meet the needs of your patients all while engaging with them automatically. Not only are you going to be seeing more great reviews coming in, but you will be doing what you do best at your practice, serving the needs of your patients the way you can, staying in close contact with them throughout the years with the patient communication software that works for you.

As an eye care practitioner, you need a patient communication software that works with your office and focuses on your specific needs. This is where Prime Nexus Patient Communication Software comes into play. Prime Nexus is a software that has been exclusively made with office workflow in mind. This means that you would worry less about recall, appointment and Rx notifications, leaving you to focus more on your patient’s care. With Prime Nexus, we have your back while you focus on patient care and growing your overall practice.

Three Ways to Obtain Patient Text Messaging Consent

With a technology shift and consumers expecting convenience, the doctor to patient relationship (and vise-versa) is also transitioning. Many patients and doctor’s offices are looking to make the communication switch from standard email notifications to texting for communication. Emails are sent more often than texts, but email open rates hover around 20%, compared with 98% for text messages. With their inboxes flooding with emails, patients have started shying away from relying on this form of communication and would rather have a conversation via text with their provider. In a world where consumers and customers always win, many providers have begun to meet these expectations. While texting seems to be an easy switch, providers must consider rules and regulations to obey by HIPAA laws.

So what is HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA, was passed by Congress in 1996 for several reasons. First, it provides the ability to transfer and continue health insurance coverage for millions of American workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. Second, it reduces health care fraud and abuse as well as mandates industry-wide standards for health care information on electronic billing and other processes. Lastly, it requires the production and confidential handling of protected health information. That being said, there is some grey area on what doctors can or cannot text their patients while respecting HIPAA.

The problem with electronic communication is that some doctors may or may not know what they can and cannot text to patients to follow HIPAA compliance. In reality, HIPAA is not a standard set of ground rules, but rather a general consensus that can vary from patient to patient. One patient may request that the information being transmitted via text must be secured while another patient does not mind if that information is unencrypted. The best way to handle this situation is to notify patients of the risks of sending unsecured texts and make sure they know what they are agreeing to.

HIPAA compliance is crucial to follow when communicating with patients, so the best precaution that medical providers can take to make sure they are being compliant with HIPAA is obtaining permission. Consent from the patient is the best way to safely cover the providers end when it comes to allowing communication via text – there are a few different ways you can obtain that consent.

Ask during check in. The easiest way to obtain consent from the patient is during their exam check in. When patient’s come into the office it can be a simple conversation asking them if they would like to be notified in the future about upcoming appointments, reminders, etc. If they agree, the next step would be to sign proper documents that the office can have for their records and to cover their bases. A simple crafted consent form can provide proof of the agreement that will allow communication via text to take place.

Provide an option online. Usually when patients are requesting an appointment from the office online there are required fields that the patient must fill out. Having a simple section that asks the patient if they would like to be notified via text can easily cover that and allow consent. By them agreeing to text notifications the office already has a record of that consent which can held for their records.

Send an email. While there is a good chance patients already receive email notifications from their provider, it is an easy question to ask if they would like to be notified via text as well. A simple email that asks the patient for their permission to text can be used as consent, phone number verification, and proof of agreement for office records.

Prime Nexus provides offices the ability to call, text and email patients a variety of communications to streamline office efficiencies. Learn more by clicking here.

 

https://www.marketingprofs.com/chirp/2017/33045/email-vs-sms-battle-of-the-heavyweights-infographic

https://searchhealthit.techtarget.com/definition/HIPAA

https://www.solutionreach.com/blog/4-ways-to-get-patient-text-messaging-consent-with-templates

https://blog.sprucehealth.com/hipaa-compliance-can-text-patients/

EyeInnovate – Highlights

How often does your practice take time out to think about how to grow and how to keep up with the digital trends of today? The first ever, EyeInnovate 2018, conference was all about marketing and technology specifically for eye care doctors, groups and optometrist students looking to get into the field. There were 300+ people there to spend the day talking about innovative ways to grow their practice. Some of the topics covered were fairly technical so don’t feel bad if your practice isn’t doing all of these things today.


HERE ARE A FEW KEY HIGHLIGHTS

➡ Be easy to find online

This one might seem obvious at first, but there are many ways to help your practice be the first on the search page list. The conference went in depth into several areas but for brevity sake, here are a few ways to get to the top of your search page.

  1. Google AdWords – place ads for your local area so that you show up first in your google search and test out different words. Do your customers search for “eye doctors”, “glasses”, “eye exams” etc. (there are plenty of resources out there that can help you set this up, Marketing4ECPS.com is one that can help).
  2. Search Engine Optimization – make sure you are using a consistent address in all online areas so that Google can easily identify your practice and all of the different website pages that belong to you. For example, your website, your Facebook page, your Google business page, etc. We offer an automated service called Reach that syncs content across all channels saving staff a bunch of time, plus adds rich content to highlight important aspects of your practice.
  3. Google Youtube Ads – Did you know that Youtube search is the second most popular search? If you are into doing video ads, you can put them there and even if your audience skips the ad, there are 5 seconds they have to watch, so get your message in that first 5 seconds!

➡ Have an easy browsing experience & make it easy to contact you

Let’s face it people are online a lot. Website development is more important than ever, and will continue to be so moving forward thanks to mobile devices. Here are a few of the top must-haves:

  1. Must load quickly – So many people will exit immediately if they don’t see your page loading quick enough.
  2. Must be mobile friendly – People are on the go and they don’t wait to get to their computer to find answers to their eye questions, or find an eye doctor in their area.
  3. Must have quality content – your office has a wealth of information to draw from. Put all those frequently asked questions online. Take time to pull together information about different eye conditions and let people know what to expect when they come meet with you. Put pictures of you and your staff in the about section.
  4. Must be easy to contact – Get the technology to allow people to schedule appointments online, maybe even chat with your patients. At a minimum, make your phone number clickable on your website, so that they can use their cell phone to call you with a click of a button.

➡ Figure out what makes your practice stand out – then double down on it

This is where the conference got super interesting. How do you get a customer to prefer your practice over others? Dr. Tanya Gill built her whole brand story on Instagram around fashion glasses. She even has her own hashtag “#radglasses” and she recommends that you take a good hard look at what it is that you stand for.  How you make your patients feel? What would that look like in the office? What would that look like on an Instagram account or other social media?  Check out her amazing IG account here: https://www.instagram.com/oaklandvisioncenter/.  Wow! This is definitely taking your business to the next level. Does everyone need to go that route? Not at all, but there are a few things you can do:

  1. Decide what you are all about –  If it’s fashion glasses? Then make sure you follow trends and have stock to back that up. If it’s a specific ailment? Then make sure your website has all the answers to your patient’s common questions about that specific problem on your site. In other words, if you try to be everything for everyone, you’ll be nothing to no one because you will blend in with the 10 other eye care practitioners in your area.
  2. Merchandise properly –The experts recommended that you provide well-lit backgrounds and clear branding because many people don’t realize that you carry the brand of glasses that they are looking for. They also recommended digital displays, which can really take your merchandizing to the next level.
  3. Engage with online social media – Look for online groups and provide them with all your specialized content and mission of your practice. Reach out to leaders in these groups and build relationships with them. They will often help spread the word that you are an expert your chosen area.

I’d venture to say that there was one thing that was left out and it was to make your products easy to buy. People can order just about everything online these days, and they will shop elsewhere if they can’t do it with you. Take contact lenses for instance. One-day lenses are by far the healthiest for your patients, but they can be expensive and often the patients simply can’t afford a 6 month or 1 year supply all at once. If you could offer them an easy way to have a monthly subscription payment and have the lenses delivered to their door, most people would take it. Plus, with a subscription platform like LensFerry, all they have to do is reply “yes” to a text message that reminds them when it is time to reorder. Learn more about how LensFerry could give your patients the convenience they are looking for, and give your practice the advantage.

Overall, EyeInnovate 2018 was a great experience. I’m looking forward to going again next year. Hope to see you there!

Four Ways to Reduce No-Shows

People get busy. Sometimes, that means an upcoming appointment may slip their mind. This can be frustrating for staff, business owners and patients hoping to schedule an appointment. Here are some handy tips for reducing no-shows in your office.

Use automatic appointment reminders

Automatic appointment reminders save staff time, reduce human error and leave a trail of data to track communications between the office and patients. They allow a practice to keep detailed records regarding if, when and how patients are receiving reminders. Automatic appointment reminders can also track when a patient confirms and will allow you to see exactly how they are confirming.

Automatic appointment reminders allow patients to request reminders when, where and how they want to be contacted. The shift from voice calls and email to texting makes it a popular choice for reminders. According to Irene Rufferty, a mobile marketer at BSG, “nearly 78% of people would like to have a text conversation with a business.” This interaction includes SMS messages to change, schedule and confirm appointments. Giving the patients the power to choose their methods of contact increases the chances they will acknowledge an appointment reminder.

Schedule patients as soon as possible

Appointments booked ahead of time – such as pre-appoints (appointments typically scheduled a year in advance) – can be easy to forget. Scheduling appointments closer to their annual date can be an easy way to keep the appointment fresh in the memory of your patients. If you choose to keep your appointment book full through pre-appoints, take advantage of utilizing appointment reminders well in advance to give your patients ample time to reschedule if necessary.

In an article from Optometric Management, Dr. Scibal suggests that 50% of patients would refer to another eyecare practitioner for help if their primary OD cannot book them in a week or less. These are patients who require glasses and contact lenses, a large source of profit for most optometrists. If this is revenue you wish not to lose, consider keeping a wait-list as discussed below.

Use multiple reminders

According to Laura Forer, 20% of emails are opened and 98% of texts are opened. As mentioned before, text reminders are becoming high in demand. Using different mediums and multiple touchpoints is an effective way to reach patients. Multiple reminders throughout the month leading up to an appointment will make it a priority in the patient’s mind. Consider implementing automatic appointment reminders – once a patient confirms, they will not be reminded again until right before their appointment. Each office should work to find the balance of messaging patients who need extra reminders but not over-messaging those who have already confirmed.

Keep a wait-list

If an office is booked out for a long period of time, scheduling patients quickly may not be an option. Keep a wait-list for patients trying to get in as soon as possible. Should a patient cancel, patients on the wait-list can be contacted to take the place of that missed appointment. An average revenue of $100-150 per patient can result in a loss of around $1000 per week if just 2 appointment slots are left open per day. A wait-list will maintain the revenue that would otherwise be lost due to cancellations, keep your patients happy, and help you retain a full schedule.

Want to utilize all these steps with ease? Check out Prime Nexus, a messaging system by EyeCare Prime to drive your practice’s success.

For more on scheduling trends, check out How Self-Scheduling Trends Can Benefit Optometry Practices and Patients

How self-scheduling trends can benefit optometry practices and patients

The convenience of online self-service has changed the way we do everything from paying bills to making a dinner reservation. Consumers increasingly expect instant access to all the information and services they need, including when they plan to visit a healthcare provider. In a study conducted by Accenture, 77 percent of patients said it was important to have the options of booking, changing or canceling appointments online.

The Accenture report projected that by the end of 2019, 66 percent of U.S. health systems will allow patients to book their own appointments online, but the trend has already arrived. Eye care professionals should seize the opportunity to get on board by adopting self-scheduling software. Making it as easy as possible to schedule appointments is good for both patients and the long-term growth of an optometry practice.

What’s happening in self-scheduling

A wide range of industries have boosted customer satisfaction and streamlined processes by embracing self-scheduling. For service-oriented businesses like salons and spas, it’s become common practice to adopt scheduling and management platforms that eliminate the need for a constant stream of phone calls. As Modern Salon pointed out, allowing patients to make appointments from any connected device is especially helpful for small or solo operations that don’t have the staff or time to handle booking by phone.

Self-scheduling has also been a big help for busy human resources specialists who must arrange a large number of screenings and interviews. In February 2018, Home Depot announced the launch of an online platform to aid in hiring for over 80,000 positions in the spring. A pilot program begun in November revealed that 80 percent of applicants chose to use the self-scheduling tool when it was available.

Empowering optometry patients

Self-scheduling is becoming a routine aspect of healthcare. According to Accenture, 40 percent of the top 100 US health systems now have such a system in place for at least some types of appointments. For optometrists, putting more power in the hands of consumers can simplify everyday processes, improve patient relationships and set a practice apart from its competitors.

An effective strategy for self-scheduling requires software with an array of appealing features, starting with the capability to book an appointment at any time from anywhere. Mobile optimization allows patients to use the system intuitively whenever it’s most convenient. Confirmation via text messages or email ensures users and practices both have visibility into all relevant information.

A self-scheduling system is a powerful way of bringing in business, but eye care providers must be committed to getting the word out. A “schedule an appointment now” button should be clearly available on the practice website and heavily promoted on social media. Businesses benefit from high visibility in Google search results that make it easy for consumers to find the business location and set up an appointment right away.

Prime Nexus™ offers the means for eye care businesses to get on top of self-scheduling trends. The intuitive solution provides patients an easy, reliable way to set and manage appointments while integrating with a variety of top practice management systems.

 

3 Key Factors to Consider When Selecting a Contact Lens Commerce Solution

Our preference for digital devices has changed the way we communicate, exchange information and purchase goods & services.  Whether shopping for a new pair of shoes online, reserving a ride share service for a trip to the airport, or ordering groceries from their phone, consumers are demanding simple, quick, convenient and immediate gratification. This has led to significant digital disruption in the marketplace.

In 2017, consumers shopping at every moment from everywhere, spent $453B online.  A quarter of those purchases were made on their smart phone.   Advances in mobile commerce, analytics and online communications continue to transform how organizations in a broad range of industries function as they strive to keep up with consumers’ increasing demands.

Optometrists are no exception. Patients are spending more than $700M online on contact lenses. To compete in this accelerating retail landscape, eye care practices need to reinvent their practices for the digital world. A successful digital transformation requires practitioners to determine how they can use technology to provide patients with a better experience while also running the practice more efficiently.  Identifying the right commerce platform for contact lenses is an essential first step.

 

3 Things to Look For When Evaluating a Contact Lens Commerce Solution:

1. Does the solution allow your practice to make the most of mobile commerce?  Consider a solution that offers:

  • 24/7 multi-channel availability: text, online, email, and subscribe
  • Capability to capture orders from any device
  • Increased patient satisfaction—simple, quick, convenient
  • Patients don’t need to go online to order from you

 

2. Does the system integrate with your EHR?

Seamless integration with your EHR increases practice efficiencies.

Patients can enjoy:

  • Pre-verified prescriptions for 1-click orders
  • Intelligent re-orders based on patient purchase history

 

3. What type of support does the solution offer?

When reviewing solutions, consider the resources offered to make your practice successful:

  • On-demand go-to-market toolkit
  • Dedicated Client Services support
  • Best practices Marketing support
  • Staff education and training resources

 

Learn more about LensFerry® mobile commerce solution here.

5 Smart Ways to Expand Your Contact Lens Business

Looking to grow your contact lens business? By getting a little creative with your pricing, purchase options, and taking advantage of technological advances, you’ll get there faster (and more easily) than you might expect.

Price It Right

People like a good deal. Create a price comparison chart for your patients, and include the various contact lens buying options, such as retail, discount, online, and your own ECP. Be sure to set your price lower than the competition. It doesn’t have to be by much. Your patients will like the idea of buying from someone they already trust, so if they can save a little money in the process—you’ve got ‘em.  

Color It With Variety

Those online vendors and big retail chains that stock a huge variety of lenses definitely have an edge, but if you start stocking more types of lenses in-house, you can shift that “edge” back to your practice. Base your stock on what you prescribe. Free shipping, rebates, and coupons all ‘sweeten’ the deal. And so does keeping up with current styles. Many contact lens wearers enjoy having lenses in multiple colors—to match different outfits, or just for fun.  So spice things up with color!

Push Daily Lenses

Daily lenses may be more expensive, but this is offset by convenience and the minimal need for lens care products. Although patients may initially balk at the higher price, once they experience the enhanced comfort and convenience of dailies–they’re likely to buy in. Your rep may be able to provide rebates on a year’s supply that you can pass on to your patients.

Take It  Online

People are ordering just about everything online, and that includes contact lenses. LensFerry, CooperVision’s contact lens subscription service, makes it easy for patients to reorder contact lenses from their mobile device, tablet, or computer–simply by replying to an automated email or text reminder. LensFerry syncs with your practice management software and sends patient communications that are customized with your practice’s name and/or logo. Patients are able to order an annual supply, but space out the payment over the course of a year, making ordering a full supply from your office simple and affordable. Lenses are shipped directly to your patient’s home via your distributor. Sales revenue comes directly to your office. Easy for your patient, easy for you.

Think Hybrid

Hybrid lenses open up an exciting new realm in eye care. Now, lenses can be crafted to suit the individual, even those “hard to fit” patients with highly complex prescription needs. Think of the possibilities.

 

Looking for more ideas? Connect with us.  

How to Handle Negative Customer Reviews

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There is no way around it, bad reviews happen. You may have had a patient that didn’t fully understand their benefits and instead of blaming the resulting bill on their lack of understanding, they opt to take their frustrations out on one of your review site pages. They air out the entire situation online for all of your current and prospective patients to see, which may cause patients to either change or create a biased opinion of your practice. Not only is this embarrassing, but receiving a negative review can also be financially painful as well, if it deters patients from coming to your practice.

Although there are infinite reasons as to why a patient might feel the need to write a negative review, your response and course of action should be consistent, regardless of what was said. First, try to report the review and see if the publisher removes it from your page. If the publisher does remove the review, respond back to the patient within a timely manner, apologize for their experience and ask them to contact your office to further discuss the issue. Avoid discussing the details of the situation online, as it is easy to accidentally mention items pertaining to the patient and or their appointment, which breaches HIPAA policies.

If you have a negative review on Facebook, there is a good chance that Facebook will not remove it. You can however deactivate the review section of your page, so that reviews will no longer appear. See how to hide Facebook reviews here.

5 Tips to Help Increase Customer Lifetime Value

increase-customer-value

Customer Lifetime Value is used to identify the net worth of the average customer during the lifetime of their relationship with a business. It is calculated by determining the total profits generated by a customer over the duration of their relationship with the business, and then subtracting the expenses incurred. It helps businesses set a benchmark for their marketing expenses and is also a powerful advantage against competition when used correctly.

Here are 5 tips that will help boost the lifetime value of customers towards a business:

Tip 1: Building long lasting relationships

According to a recent study, the probability of selling a product or service to a new customer is approximately 20%.  However, selling the same product or service to an existing customer is about 70%.  Hence the business needs to not only establish a relationship with a client, but to sustain it over time.

Sharing information and knowledge with customers will not only boost their confidence in a business’s abilities, but it will also expose customers to a wide range of products and services that the business offers.

Providing the best possible customer service will help strengthen a customer’s relationship with a business.  Even if a business doesn’t have all the answers, customers are more likely to stay if they feel like they are being heard and their complaints are being responded to.

Being sensitive towards customer needs and sincerely working to fulfil them.  The key is maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship with customers to build trust, rather than just selling a product or service.

Tip 2: Creating brand loyalty

Brand loyalty is a major contributor to increasing customer lifetime value since it facilitates repeat purchases by customers, makes them open to trying new products or services and also makes customers good sources of referrals for attracting further growth in the market.  The perfect example of brand loyalty is Apple, the brand that owns a staggering 84% of the world’s mobile phone market. A study has shown that the three key factors that contribute to brand loyalty are outstanding customer service, superior quality of products and shared values.  Shared value indicates the key philosophy of a business, or simply put, it shows customers where the heart of the business lies. If a business demonstrates their purpose through their actions, products and services or through events, they will certainly keep customers coming back to them.

Tip 3: Upselling and cross selling

Selling is often mistaken as manipulation.  It is however more about helping people make an informed decision. Upselling refers to the ability to strategically position a superior product at a better price. For example, selling a top of the range laptop to a customer who initially sought to buy a basic one. Cross selling is to sell complementary products such as a mouse, printer or accidental coverage on the laptop purchased. Starting with trying to sell the most superior product is the best strategy as it conveys a message to customers that they deserve the best.  Cross selling is an equally lucrative option since 50% of people will buy an additional product if asked.

Tip 4: Choosing rewards and incentives

Contrary to the common notion that discounts help boost sales, studies have shown that they actually decrease the perceived value of a product or service. It is hence a better idea to include incentives and free gifts instead. Providing a free trial to a complementary service for instance will encourage cross selling. French cosmetic store Sephora rewards customers with points for each purchase, and collecting a certain number of points enables customers to choose from an array of available gifts. Customers hence keep returning to Sephora so that their points increase with each purchase and they are finally able to receive the gift they have been wanting. This is a great example of a win-win situation for both sides, and more importantly it helps Sephora retain its widely growing customer base. Choosing the right incentive structure will ensure that the business as well as customers reap rewards.

Tip 5: Using multiple communication channels

Having multiple points of contact will help customers decide how they would like to be contacted. They can choose to be contacted either by phone, email, text or through social media – this would also prevent them from leaving due to unwanted contact through a medium they do not prefer.  Social media would allow a business to communicate with customers at a time of their convenience; it also reduces costs and is the most popular and emerging touch point for businesses today. If executed well, having multiple touch points will help contribute towards increasing customer lifetime value.

Marketing genius Peter Drucker once said, “The purpose of a business is to create a customer and to grow that customer”. Although it is essential to target new customer segments for the growth of a business, it is far more beneficial sustain an already existing relationship with customers.  So go ahead and apply these five strategies interchangeably and notice how it benefits your business positively!