Welcome to question of the day #334

Eyetools question of the day #334

I have noticed that only 50% of the patients in my practice that have a significant change in their prescription are purchasing their glasses from me. How can I increase this?

There can be several reasons why 50% of your patients are walking out without purchasing glasses from you even though they have been recommended a change in prescription.

I suggest you start by looking at the interaction between the eye specialist carrying out the examination and the specialist responsible for helping the person find a suitable frame.

The eye specialist carrying out the examination should recommend the optimum lens format, lens coatings, and any other extras such as photochromics having determined the patient’s visual needs. However, the handoff to the dispensing expert is crucial in securing the purchase of glasses.

Passing the patient from the examination to the dispensing is sometimes called the optical handoff or optical handover.

There are some different forms of optical handoff and what works for you depends on your team, your patients, and your workflow.

If you are struggling with your optical handoff you could try using these different strategies across a few months and then look at the numbers to see if one technique outperformed the others.

The sales process in every eyecare practice begins as soon as a patient walks in the door. While the dispensing opticians have the responsibility of closing sales at the end of a visit, every staff member in your workflow can help make recommendations and comments to encourage sales in your practice.

Even more so, it’s the eye specialist’s job to use their expertise to make product recommendations and to communicate that plan to both the patient and dispensing optician to ensure that the patient is comfortable moving forward with their purchase.

If patients are just being dismissed as they leave the exam room, they’re less likely to interact with your opticians to buy products in your dispensary.

 Different types of examination to dispensing handoff:

  1. The eye specialist delivers the patient to the dispensing optician in the dispensary and explains the patient’s visual needs. This has very little privacy and in a busy practice, it can be sometimes difficult to hear what is being said. Also, the eye specialist may see the next patient waiting and this may cause them to rush the handoff.


2. The dispensing optician comes into the exam room for a consultation with the eye specialist and the patient. A paging system can be used to alert the dispensing optician that the examination has finished and that they are required in the examination room. This means privacy and quiet and gives the patient time to address any questions or concerns with both the eye specialist and dispensing optician at once. However, if all the dispensing opticians are busy it may mean that the eye specialist has to wait with the patient for the next available dispensing optician and this could delay the patient and the eye specialist.


3. The eye specialist delivers the patient to the dispensing optician in the dispensary in a quiet, private space that is used for the exam to dispensing handover.


4. The eye specialist leaves the clinical records and the patient with the front desk staff and the patient waits for the next available dispensing optician. There is no verbal handoff between the eye specialist and the dispensing optician. This helps with workflow but there is no personal touch and the dispensing optician may miss important dispensing information.

Depending on your team and your schedule, one option might make more sense for you than the other. Or, you could practice each of these solutions on a per patient basis depending on the type of patient you’re seeing.

In my experience, option 3, where the eye specialist delivers the patient to the dispensing optician in the dispensary in a quiet, private space works best for me and my practice workflow.