An eye appointment is a two-way street. Your patients expect professionalism and efficiency from you, and you expect preparedness and cooperation from them. Unfortunately not all patients come to their appointments prepared, and sometimes they seem like they are being uncooperative throughout the exam. Part of the reason this happens could be due to patients not knowing what is expected of them during an exam.
We’ve come up with 7 ways your patients can help get themselves through an eye appointment, as well as a patient checklist of reminders that you can give to patients in your practice, or hand up in your waiting room, to help the exam process go smoother. Having a patient portal that you promote to your patients is one way that you can help make their lives easier, the rest is up to them!
7 Ways Patients Can Help Themselves Get Through an Eye Appointment with Patient Portal Software
1. Fill out all pre-exam paperwork via a patient portal.
If your practice isn’t utilizing a patient portal, you’re hurting your efficiency. Your patients should be able to fill out any necessary appointment forms online before their appointments, including things like medical history and insurance information. You can also include a questionnaire to get your patients thinking about specific questions they might want to ask during their appointment. Not only does this help the pre-exam portion of the appointment go quicker, but it helps make your patients feel like they are prepared for their exam.
2. Remind patients what to bring to their appointment.
To further make sure your patients are prepared for their appointment, remind them to bring these necessary items that will help their appointment be successful:
- Current glasses and/or contact lenses
- Sunglasses (if they will be getting their eyes dilated)
- List of allergies and medications they are taking
- Insurance information
- A list of questions they might have for you
3. Arrive on time!
We know you likely struggle with patients who show up late to their appointments, it can put your whole day behind schedule, meaning frustration for you, your staff, and your patients. Inform your patients about the importance of arriving to their appointment at an appropriate time, and explain to them how arriving on time helps ensure that their exam starts on time.
4. Be cooperative during the exam.
Have you ever been performing a refraction test and when asking your patient, “Which is better? One or two?”, you got the response, “Huh?” or, “What do you mean?” This could be because the patient is unclear on the purpose of the test. Explain to them before hand, the reasoning for the test and what you mean when you say “better”. Encourage your patients to ask questions for clarity, and be open to explaining to them what has changed since their last exam.
5. Encourage smart questions.
It has been said that there is no such thing as a stupid question, but there is such a thing as a smart question. Smart questions are productive questions that allow for specificity. Patient education, which can easily be offered through patient portals or your practice’s website, will keep your patients asking smart questions during their exam, which means you can provide better patient care.
6. Trust your optician's advice.
Your optician is full of information about the best options for your patients based off of their unique individual needs. Have them discuss the best type of lenses for each patient, before they begin selecting frames, since some lenses work better with specific types of frames. It is also important that your optician can explain to your patients the importance of value over price.
7. Make sure patients leave their appointment with all the right information.
Patients that leave their appointment with confusion will end up calling your office later, so make sure they have all of their questions answered before leaving their appointment. You can also make sure they understand how to access the information online in order to find instructions for medication use, or to ask follow up questions that might arise after their appointment.
In a perfect world, all of your patients would take all seven of these steps and ensure a smooth and successful appointment. That is why we have prepared this patient checklist you can offer to your patients to help them have a successful appointment in your office.
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