After many fumbled hand-offs between my optometrist and I, we decided to analyze how we perform our hand-offs and what it means to the patient. After much review, we found that a hand-off is not simply pawning the patient off from optometrist to optical (or check out), but a chance to transfer the care and expertise.
We found that patients don’t want to have a first-class eye exam, then be dumped off into the optical. They want to know that the person taking over their treatment can continue the same level of care that the optometrist has already started. By continuing a high level of care, the patient will trust the optician more, which will lead to higher capture rates and a better revenue per patient. The things you say and do as the transfer of care takes place will show the patient that the optician taking over care is the right person for the job.
One way to help build the patients trust in the optician is for the optometrist to show that he or she trusts the opinions and recommendations of the optician. You can do this by saying things like “our optician Thomas is a frame and lenses expert, I know he will find the perfect pair for you Mrs. Jones.” Also, using technical terms during the transfer of care helps the patient know that the person taking over is a true professional and will know what lenses will work the best for them.
Another thing to consider during the transfer of care is where it takes place. If possible, try to perform the transfer of care in the exam lane so that it feels more clinical. Having a more clinical feeling will help the patient understand that glasses are a medical device and the recommendations are customized to their needs. The last change we made to our transfer of care was the time it took to execute the transfer. Keeping it short and sweet keeps the patient engaged and their mind on getting glasses and, not to mention, helps the flow of the office.
Key points to touch on during a transfer of care
- Reinforcing why we are recommending the products and services that we are
- Going over recall policy with the patient (e.g. when you want them to come back for their next eye exam)
- Don’t forget to refer to the patient by name
- Perfect time to ask the patient if any family members or friends need eye exams
What comes out of performing a great transfer of care instead of a lack luster hand-off, or just simply dumping the patient off to the front office staff? As I mentioned before, having a higher level of care throughout the process will make the patient have more trust in the products and services that you are offering them, completing a great patient experience that they can appreciate.
– Thomas Cervantes