Giving vs. Getting Information: How the Internet Is Used in Your Office

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ROCKVILLE, Md.—Whether we were brought up near California beaches or not, we all surf...the internet that is. When we are surfing the internet for work purposes, we are usually "getting" information, looking up stuff or entering data.

In our office, we use the internet in all these ways, but in our practice we also use it to find and give information to our patients at many other junctures, and we also use it as our own public relations tool.

The Days of the Pamphlet Are Over
Do you still have these things in your office? Why? How much do they cost to have printed? How much space do they take up to store? How accurate are they six months later, if you haven't distributed them all by that time? Our patient education documents (most of them) are on our website or in our EMR system and printed and distributed to our patients on an "as needed" basis. Our lens options are in a digital lens menu which is available for viewing and/or printing at our optician stations. When information changes, the documents are changed immediately so information is always up to date. When information is requested, these documents can be e-mailed immediately, and using our Demandforce platform, we can even force-feed the information to the masses as we choose (sparingly, usually). Here is our website document discussing Glaucoma which otherwise may have been distributed as a pamphlet. Hit print, and the information is in the patient's hand at check out.

Custom Examination Room Video Education
We use and love the product produced by Eyemaginations, but video can also be used to deliver a more personalized and compassionate message to patients. Making your own videos is free, easy and simple and having actual patients can deliver the message you hope to get across can be a very effective means of PR. We have videos of patients where patients discuss their experience with OrthoK, we have an educational video on contact lens insertion and removal and videos of people putting on their progressive eyeglass lenses for the first time where we captured their "wow" moment.

Promoting Your Website
There's no better way to promote your website then have it "live" in your waiting area. Not everyone finds or knows about the features you have available, like online forms, health information, video etc., and the most effective way to build traffic to your website is to put people in front of it whether they want to be looking at it or not. We have a computer with our website sitting in our waiting room and are pleasantly surprised at how many patients surf it while waiting for their appointment.

Social Review
In the past we had a computer in a prominent place where we asked people who gave positive feedback at check-out if they would kindly post it online. This can work, but patient selection is important, and you have to delete your browser data in between each review as certain sites like Yelp may not take too many reviews from the same IP address. Suffice it to say, even if they can't write the review there and then, your receptionists can show them the various places you would appreciate them writing reviews if they are inclined. Remember, it's OK to ask someone to write a review, but it's not OK to ask them to write a "good" review or influence the content of their review in any way.

 

Alan N. Glazier, OD, FAAO is the founder/CEO of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care in Rockville, Md. A search and social optimization consultant, he is a regular contributor to CLICK and also writes a regular blog for SightNation.com. A founder of ODs on Facebook, Glazier is also a VM/ROB Optometric Business Innovator. Glazier is at aglazier@youreyesite.com and his regular posts can be found via his Twitter handle: @EyeInfo, his blog: youreyesite.net and his website: YourEyeSite.com. He's the author of the new eBook, Customer Communication Software, which features a "comparison checklist" to help ECPs determine which software platform is the best fit for their office. More info on the new eBook is posted here.