Based upon the prior blog entries, you have now decided to introduce SLT into your practice. The first question after you make that choice is how to tell your patients. Remember, patients are just like any other people trying to learn something new to them – each one is different in how they hear and process the information provided to them. However, I have found certain unique approaches that resonate with most patients when discussing how best to incorporate SLT into their treatment care. These center around what they hear, see, and read. Let’s take a look at each and how they can be incorporated into your routine day.
The most common and valuable method is direct communication from the provider to the patient about SLT. Wording means the world when trying to effectively communicate. The difficulty with communication, however, is the assumption that it has properly occurred. There can easily be a breakdown from what was said by someone and how that message was interpreted by another. When considering how to describe and educate patients about SLT, take a moment to understand your audience. This will allow you to tailor the words in the presentation to successfully translate your words into comprehension for them. For instance, I work in Southern California where we are known for our sunny weather and beaches. I utilize that background information in order to best relate SLT to my patients. Below is one approach:
“Mrs. Smith, although SLT is officially a laser procedure, I think it is better described as a light therapy to the eye – almost like getting a tan. Your body absorbs the light energy and, as a reaction to it, your body cleans the natural drainage system of your eye that is clogging up. So your body does the work but it just needs the signal from the light therapy.”
The next most popular option focuses on appreciating what our patients perceive with their eyes. We all agree that a picture is worth more than a thousand words, and a video is a thousand pictures put together. It’s no surprise that one of the most efficient ways I have found to introduce SLT to my patients is through a video of me actually performing the procedure (of course with patient consent and proper compliance). This video is displayed on the TV monitors in our waiting rooms but I have also included it on our website for patients to view at their convenience. A secondary benefit to this approach is that drives online traffic to the website which improves SEO (search engine optimization). You can view the video by following the link my webpage (www.harvardeye.com/teymoorian). Please feel free to contact me if you want a copy for your office.
The last approach involves what patients read about the procedure. This becomes even more valuable when presented in the form of patient reviews from those who have already had SLT performed. Conventional methods such as having these testimonials in the office are useful, but more and more the best method of patient connection is through online methods – website and social media. The best options will vary among practices and locations; however, all options start by getting feedback from patients who then subsequently agree to have their experiences shared. The most difficult ones to get are the first few as your processes for obtaining permission and other logistics steps need to be identified and executed. Once this is complete, it is simply a manner of using the testimonials in the right locations based upon your knowledge of the targeted audience.
Depending on your location and patient population demographics, some or all of these methods may help to better communicate the benefits of SLT. The key is to understand each of your patients and their uniqueness to evaluate which would be best. This appreciation of diversity extends to our original discussion about how treatment for every individual must be viewed as a distinct case where we travel together with the hopes of reaching the finish line to 20/happy vision.View all blog posts