Everyone loves something new. Whether it’s a fresh pair of cleats, a trendy blouse, or a shiny new car – there is something to ignite desire for every individual out there. Yet we don’t get as excited to do our routines or using our well-worn items. Why? Humans love the thrill. It drives new ideas and fuzzy feelings. We believe we have more potential. It’s an adventure – an experience.
So, why not bring the adventure to optometry? With technology on the rise, we must keep up. If we do not show patients the newest lens designs or trendy frames, they will buy online. If we do not use updated technology, they will not understand the value of a comprehensive exam in office versus an app online. Embracing the hype is an excellent way to maintain your existing patients and get them talking to their friends. Word of mouth about “the cool new lenses/machine” at the eye doctor will spread like fire, especially when the patient’s experience is enhanced.
Bringing in the new
It is definitely worth investing your time and money for the sake of your future practice. One way to invest in innovative technology is to set up meetings with your local representatives of the technology companies to discuss what’s new. Find a few selling points of a new product and implement it into your practice. Go to optometry’s meeting and ask the vendors questions about their products. Compare what you have and what you need to decide what will work in your practice. We have an advantage as a student in optometry school or a recent graduate because we have not yet set our ways and are open to new techniques and technology.
With that being said, it is necessary to take a step back from the hype to determine the disadvantages of the “cool” new thing. You need to do your research about the product and see what the company’s studies tell you. Find what gaps lie in the research and what questions you can ask. Do you think it will work in your new practice and with your patients? Is there a niche to fill with it? The truth is, there is not a single product on the market that is best for everyone. Our job is to learn how to recommend specific products or additional testing for the individual patient.
Be an advocate for your patients
The best thing you can do as a clinician is to listen to your patients and address their struggles. They may not always mention an issue at first, but after digging into their history a bit, you may find a hidden problem and be able to finally help them. That right there, is like finding treasure. Most of the encountered problems in optometry are fairly easy to fix. However, sometimes patients are unaware of the treatments to help them and don’t realize what they’re missing until you show them.
Never be afraid to be the doctor. Tell your patients what’s new, why it’s different, and how it’s useful for their life. Beware of bias and always give every patient the opportunity for change, regardless of their appearance, insurance, or race. Just have an honest conversation. If they are compliant to your suggestions, they will likely return with many thanks. You have the ability to make a difference in the patient’s life; so learn what you can, work with your curiosity, and share the thrill of something new.