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The ideal “in practice” patient journey

Courtesy Point de Vue – Essilor


Ensuring that a patient’s ‘journey’, from the moment they enter the practice to the follow-up collection visit, is as effective as it can possibly be, means greater satisfaction for them. This converts to not only improved retention of your current patient base, but also higher chance of positive discussions outside the practice walls.

The term ‘best practice’ is widely used in all fields of business and industry. Put simply, it means a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that can then be used as a benchmark to approve overall levels of satisfaction.

As Eye Care Practitioners, we know how vital it is that every patient experience is as good as it can be. But have you ever benchmarked the journey your patients take from the moment they enter the practice right through to the return for collection? Do you incorporate ‘best practice’ thinking to this process? Essilor is determined to help Eye Care Practitioners develop this area, because it knows how effective it can be for your patient satisfaction. As part of this process, Essilor UK recently carried out a fully tested ‘best practice patient experience’ project.

Working with both our internal commercial team as well as eight VCO (Varilux Consultant Optician) practices, with Optometrist, Dispensing Optician & support staff input,  we set about developing this ideal “best practice” client journey. Once we had established an all-party agreement, the below steps were identified as the best practice journey.

Table one shows the journey split into three phases: the primary visit, the collection, and the follow-up along with a brief summary of the suggested activity to be taken by the Eye Care Practitioner.


Following this best practice journey decision, we set about validating its robustness with the general public, so we approached an independent market research company and asked them to test it. They subsequently identified 129 existing varifocal wearers who had purchased their spectacles from various practices within the past 12 months. The market research company’s next step was to measure these current wearers satisfaction, regarding the practice journey they had taken to be dispensed with their current varifocals from either:

– completely satisfied
– generally satisfied
– generally dissatisfied
– completely dissatisfied.

Following this, they invited each wearer to one of the eight VCO practices to experience the best practice journey. Once completed the research company asked the wearer to rate each new experience in the VCO practice, Each phase was then broken down into constituent parts and ranked accordingly, a summary of the process satisfaction results are shown in table two (NB Essilor partners are the VCO practices):

Process satisfaction

Please tell me, for each step, if you were completely satisfied, generally satisfied, generally dissatisfied or completely dissatisfied (% completely satisfied)


Many, but perhaps not all, practices take the steps a patient experiences through the practice for granted. But the importance of deploying well thought out journey, effectively and consistently cannot be overstated. As you can see from the results table, using the structured client journey the satisfaction is significantly improved from when the client enters the practice until after the collection follow up – just to make sure all is well.

Conclusion

What this research clearly shows is that by paying greater attention to the patient journey and by deploying this tried and tested best practice module, both practices and patients can greatly benefit.

 

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