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Committed to Excellence

Stellar results and a perfect patient experience will deliver LASIK growth

Committed to Excellence

Stellar results and a perfect patient experience will deliver LASIK growth.

By Kay Coulson, Contributing Editor

The four LASIK practices profiled in this supplement have shared, with clarity and focus, why they continue to grow regardless of economic conditions. Here are guidelines you can follow to help fuel the success of your LASIK practice.

Deliver patient-preferred vision. Invest in technology that delivers superior visual outcomes. Strive to reduce enhancements, while being willing to retreat patients so they're fully satisfied. Recognize that you're delivering patient-preferred vision, not simply 20/20 vision. This requires time, attention and effective communication with patients.

Patient-preferred vision means you recognize the unique requirements of your patient base, whether it's the 50+ presbyope who lives in Florida, where conversations about monovision and accurate lens trials occur daily, or the younger, active Coloradan who almost always has dry eye and contact lens intolerance. Excellent communication preoperatively and postoperatively is imperative for patient satisfaction.

Make every patient feel valued and cared for every step of the way. What your office looks like, smells like and sounds like is profoundly important, as well as how your staff dresses, how clean or cluttered the front desk is, and if you have special touches in your wait lounge. All of this tells a patient whether you're a doctor's office or a specialized med-boutique.

The way your intake forms look; whether you make patients fill out their own medical history; and how promptly you see the patient all reflect how unique or ordinary your practice is. Very often, I hear surgeons or administrators minimize the importance of these small touches. But these are the very real, very sensory signals that say you're different and better than the rest. If it looks, sounds and smells like a doctor's office, it's not a center of LASIK excellence.

Maintain an unwavering commitment to practice excellence. What comes across in the interviews with these practitioners is their unwavering commitment to LASIK excellence. They're invested in and examine every element of their surgical process to improve visual outcomes.

As Dr. Jackson says, "Perfection is good enough." If you're a surgeon that accepts less than perfect, you won't grow. I believe what's holding the LASIK market back is that every LASIK practice in the U.S. doesn't consistently monitor and improve their nomogram. One hundred percent 20/20 vision will revolutionize our industry, and that accomplishment isn't predicated on improved technology. Improved outcomes lie in a surgeon's commitment to optimize this technology in their hands. If you use a laser right out of the crate, or rely on a roll on/roll off team to set your nomogram adjustments, your LASIK outcomes simply aren't good enough. You're good, but you're not great. And only great practices are growing.

Excellent practices measure, analyze and iterate. Practice owners ask themselves: How many calls come in? What's the lead quality? What's the conversion rate from inquiry to consult to surgery? How long are patients kept waiting? How accurate is the post-op refraction vs. surgical plan? How satisfied are post-op patients? They want to know the answers, not so they can trumpet them, but so they can improve. Dr. Alexander asks, "Are you putting what's best ahead of what's fastest or easiest?" You have to measure to know. And when you measure accurately, outcomes and patient satisfaction should be shared with prospective patients.

If you think now is not the right time to grow your LASIK practice, I'll challenge that assumption. Now is the time a casual LASIK surgeon relaxes and blames the economy, while a committed LASIK surgeon accelerates. In tough times, excellence surfaces. In a thousand small ways, with every single patient, stellar practices will find a way to over-deliver on patient expectations. Successful practice owners believe perfection is possible. And they surround themselves with people who want to aim for perfection. They will define LASIK excellence, and LASIK success, in the years to come.