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Helping Patients Navigate Choice

By Dane Bagley, OD August 10, 2020

Back in the day, we used to present all our products to patients, giving them the freedom to choose the ones they liked the best. Over time, we learned that this approach overwhelmed some patients, who didn’t understand the different product lines and were looking for our expert opinion. They wanted us to recommend the product that would best help them to see, their insurance covered, and that was most comfortable to wear.

So, about 12 years ago, we modified our approach and transitioned more into the role of advisor to our patients. We developed “menus” tailored to specific vision plans and we share them with patients looking to maximize their benefits. While all our offerings are high-quality, the menus display the products included in the specific patient’s plan. Then we, as experts, can go into that pared-down list to recommend the product most appropriate for the patient’s individual needs. Patients end up with the best product for their requirements, while utilizing their benefits to the fullest—a win-win.

With the upcoming changes to the VSP ophthalmic product formulary1, product menus like these might be useful to practices shifting towards preferred products. Similar to a “chef’s choice” in a restaurant, practices could use the menus to highlight their featured brands, which could include the preferred offerings. Patients looking for guidance will be able to easily select from the menu; those wanting more options can reference the complete formulary list, which includes virtually every lens product on the market.

My practice sells mostly Unity® lenses, included in the preferred options, so the upcoming lens formulary changes won’t affect us. We’ve been really happy with the Unity product line – I wear the lenses myself and have for years. The vast majority of our patients love Unity Lenses as well – and there are several options for those who prefer an alternative.  We are also interested in the new TechShield® Anti Reflective coatings with Anti-Bacterial technology and being able to offer our patients this advanced technology.

Now more than ever, patients expect choice. As I see it, our job is to offer our patients the highest quality products and to use our extensive expertise to help them navigate that choice.

Dr. Bagley is Owner & Founder of Perfect Optical Eyecare Center in Huntsville, AL, and a VSP Ambassador.

1  The VSP ophthalmic product formulary is administered by Plexus Optix, Inc.

 

 

 

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