Patient Communication Tips for Optometrists

Dr. Mario Di Cosmo shares patient communication tips for optometrists.

Communication is everything.

When it comes to communication in your practice and with patients, effective communication should begin with building a personal connection with the patient.

By building a personal connection, this will allow you to speak their language, and help them understand why you’re making the decisions you’re making for their eye health.

Great patient rapport is built upon being a good communicator.

By being a good communicator and establishing a strong bond with patients, your chances of having a compliant patient increases dramatically. Not only that, but developing good rapport really builds your practice and leads to increased revenue.

Understanding the patient in your chair as a unique individual will go a long way towards speaking to them in a way that reaches them and helps build that bond. For example, if you have someone who loves to know all the details of everything you are doing, right down to the exact millimeter you refract at, you wouldn’t just give them a generic, “You’re eyes are healthy, see you next year”.

Vice versa, someone who is busy, with a timeline and just wants to know whether they can see or not doesn’t want to be bored by the statistical results comparing 5 minutes of hot compresses to 10 minutes. Speaking in a way that fits your patient’s model of the world shows them that you appreciate and understand them as a unique individual. It shows that you are adaptable and can give any patient that sits in your chair exactly what they want, an amazing experience.

It doesn’t stop there however.

Not only is it important that you can communicate with your patients, you need to be able to effectively communicate with your staff and team.

Knowing that your team members may have different models of the world will help you understand why conflicts may arise and why certain people are better for certain positions in the office.

You don’t want a quick, big picture, don’t mind the details in charge of accounting. Also, you can understand why someone feels hurt when another team member doesn’t take the time to ask them about their family.

Each personality has its strengths and weaknesses in certain positions around the office, and conflicts will happen. However, you need to make sure your whole team is on the same page with similar goals and purpose for the office. This is built upon having a mission, vision, and values for the practice or clinic you are working in and is a critical element in creating the patient experience. That way everyone can see the goals and dreams of the clinic through their own filter, which helps you achieve those goals in ways you never thought possible, but it is still the same goal shared by everyone.

A lot of the times it is not easy to look at the world and speak to them through their filter because it may be so different from your own filter. Therefore, just like anything else, communication is a skill that needs to be practiced. The more practice you get, the more comfortable you will be with talking to different people. You will see how your team comes together at the office, how your patients will appreciate your advice and you will even see relationships in everyday life will connect you with some very cool people.

Try looking at the world through someone else’s filter, you might just like what you see!

About Antonio Chirumbolo

Antonio Chirumbolo
Antonio Chirumbolo, OD, is Associate Director of Marketing at CovalentCareers. Antonio's focus is in the world of digital publications and healthcare marketing, with special attention on content creation, management, and development.

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