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  • Viewpoint: 5 Surprising Ways Technology Improves Patient Experience

    By Megan Odell, MHHR

    Viewpoint is a column created by AAOE® specifically for ophthalmologists and leaders in practice management.
    Despite the negative stigma of technology in health care, there are ways that it can actually improve patient care. Here are five technology considerations for your ophthalmic practice that your patients will welcome:

    1. New Software Implementation
    New software can be great for improving the patient experience. Think about the benefits that prescription delivery brings to many patients, particularly if your practice is located in a rural area. While some software certainly can help a patient access or manage their care, it’s important to keep in mind that 100% adoption of any new technology you implement is simply unrealistic. However, patients who find it helpful and convenient will adopt it, which will directly influence your operational efficiencies for the better.

    2. Patient Information Delivery
    Patients want to be educated and informed about their care — especially when it comes to a new diagnosis. Hosting patient webinars can be a convenient way to inform patients and their loved ones (who may not live in town) about their new diagnosis and treatment options or simply as way to put a face to the name of their new eye care provider.

    3. Social Media
    The number of Facebook users in the U.S. has increased by 25 million from 2020 to 2021. Don’t be afraid to use social media platforms like Facebook, and others, to your benefit. Patients want to feel connected through shared values and love to see their doctors giving back for the greater good. By promoting all the amazing initiative that your practice is doing both internally and, in your community, you can gain new followers, which ultimately strengthens your brand.

    4. Online Scheduling
    When was the last time you heard a patient thank you for leaving them on hold? Online scheduling allows referring offices to schedule appointments for their patients before they even leave their office. Not only does this immediately close the loop on ensuring the referral takes place, but it takes the nuance of getting the appointments scheduled over the phone out of the patient’s and referring doctor’s hands. If you’re really ready to relinquish control and empower your patients, allow them the flexible option to schedule their own appointments online, 24/7. 

    5. Video Sharing
    Video is king … especially for patients who are visually impaired. Create and upload informative videos on various conditions, surgeries, and treatments to your website. You could then share these on social media, which would not only be useful resources for the patient, or potential new patient, but it will also boost your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings.

    About the Author

    Megan Odell, MHHR, graduated from Texas State University with her bachelor’s degree in health care administration and later a master’s degree in health care human resources. Through the world of ophthalmology, where Megan has spent the last five years of her dozen plus years in the medical field, she developed a tremendous passion for preventing blindness. She currently serves as the director of patient experience at Austin Retina Associates, focusing on community involvement, business relations, marketing and creating an unparalleled organizational culture.