Home CareCredit: Patient Financing Extend Your Patient Education Into the Recommendation Phase

Extend Your Patient Education Into the Recommendation Phase

Make sure patients know you offer the visual solutions they need and want

“I’ve always been big on educating patients,” says Laura DePoe, OD. That level of attention in helping patients understand their eye health and visual needs has been a factor in 20 years of growth at DePoe Eye Center, in the Stockbridge and Macon, Georgia, region. She and her husband, Adam DePoe, OD, opened their first location 20 years ago; they opened their seventh in September.

“I don’t simply examine eyes and say everything’s great. I explain everything I see as I go through the exam,” she says. First of all, it’s more interesting to both the patient and her. Secondly, those discussions lay the groundwork for the recommendations she makes at the end of the exam. “That education carries over into what we can do to protect the eyes and eye health. I can talk about macular degeneration, exposure to UV and harmful blue light and changes to their vision, such as advancing presbyopia,” she says. It’s not uncommon for patients new to her practice to tell her that they have never received that level of education before.

Connect the dots for patients

However, Dr. DePoe didn’t at first connect her conversation on patients’ needs and eye health with the products available in the dispensary—until a conversation years ago with a patient showed her why it’s necessary. “I consider myself more of a nurturer or caregiver than a salesperson. So I didn’t feel like I needed to say that we had special features on our ophthalmic lenses, for example.
But one patient told me about new eyeglasses with advanced features that her friend had purchased, ‘but I didn’t have that option,’” the patient told her. Dr. DePoe realized that she could have remedied that perception if she spent just a few seconds saying, “We have new lenses available that will address these issues for you.”

Dr. DePoe is featured in this new supplement

Now she’s more comfortable talking specifically about how a product benefits patients. “I recommend, based on a clinical standpoint, what is healthy and good for patients’ eyes. Then I note that we have access to these products right here,” she says. Her Essilor representatives, for example, have worked with the entire team to present features and benefits to patients so that they’re eager to try the newest technology, see more clearly and also avoid exposure to harmful blue light.

Michelle Wright, practice director at DePoe Eye Center, says that recommendation in the exam room also makes it easier to finalize the sale in the optical. Opticians can reinforce what the doctor has told them—and they make it a point to address the CareCredit credit card option to every patient. “We have a phrase that we use every time. We say, ‘We’re excited to offer you the ability to pay for this in monthly installments using special financing.’ We say this right at the start of the eyewear selection process so that they don’t feel limited by what funds they have available. We don’t want them to feel like they have to sacrifice features or benefits,” Wright says. “With special financing through CareCredit, we can help fill just about anyone’s needs at a monthly payment level he or she can afford.”

Presenting this offer early in the process makes a difference, Wright adds. “We see patients choosing more features than they might have in the past. We see more people purchasing second pairs or prescription sunwear because they have months to pay for it.”

The practice brought the CareCredit option to patients about four years ago. One of the managers had used her own CareCredit credit card for her veterinary expenses and saw how the special financing would be applicable at the practice, too. More recently, the practice’s billing manager, Jessica Diver, has begun promoting it more. That increased exposure on the practice’s website, social media and in the office, has increased the uptake from patients noticeably, Wright says.

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