Health professionals sometimes forget that most people don’t understand the various medical terms they use every day, making it harder for patients to understand when they’re explaining a diagnosis. Patients need to be able to comprehend your explanations and advice to carry out their treatment program properly. This issue is where optometry patient education can save the day.
This article discusses the importance of patient education and ways to educate your optometry patients better so you can give them the best care possible.
Why Is Patient Education Important for Optometry?
Patients might have heard of macular degeneration or glaucoma, but they may not fully understand these eye diseases. One of your most essential responsibilities is informing the patient of their test results and health in a way they can understand. If you can pull it off effectively, you can enjoy benefits like:
- Help patients make informed decisions
- Reduce patient’s stress
- Increase trust between patient and doctor
- Improve chances of treatment success
- Boost referrals
- Decrease your practice’s liability
A study in the American Journal of Medicine demonstrated that patient education improves compliance with medication, and teaching patients about their condition facilitates better care.
How Can an Optometrist Educate Their Patients?
Everyone learns differently, so your practice should have educational resources that cater to all patients. It’s also essential to make the information accessible in multiple locations, such as the office, waiting room, exam room, and online. The National Eye Institute, for example, offers online educational resources on various eye conditions. The goal is always to have clear, comprehensive optometry information at the patient’s fingertips.
Optometry Patient Education Videos
A patient education video uses simple terms to explain an ocular disease or condition, such as loss of central vision due to diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration. In one study by the National Institute of Health, patients who watched a video about cataract surgery before their procedure were less likely to be anxious leading up to it.
The American Medical Association (AMA) advises ophthalmologists to point their patients toward outside information so they can learn more about their treatment. Online videos teach patients about myopia management, such as using a contact lens, choosing the right glasses, or getting refractive surgery to improve their vision.
Patient Education Handouts
Waiting rooms are a common place to find educational pamphlets in an optometric business, but you can also give them directly to patients following their appointment. These materials list symptoms and possible treatments for their condition, helping them understand what to expect regarding patient care.
You can also provide instructional packets to help patients with different types of vision care, such as treating dry eye with eye drops or keeping an eye injury clean.
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VA Optometry Education
A Veteran’s Affairs (VA) optometrist treats veterans who may need special consideration because of the physical and emotional stress they have experienced. They might require a more specialized routine eye exam, acknowledging the potential for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can cause vision loss, headaches, and balance issues.
Patient education for veterans might involve a more concerted effort to ensure that they receive and understand the information to reduce anxiety as much as possible.
Online Education Resources
Some patients might struggle to fully absorb the information they receive in your office but can more readily learn at home through online resources. You might use newsletters, emails, articles, and website content to explain eye health topics in more depth.
To ensure that your patients find accurate details about their condition, it’s best to provide your patients with reliable sources. Online sources can also explain more complex topics like vision therapy treatments.
Conversations with the Eye Doctor
Effective communication is vital when it comes to educating your patients. Whether discussing the results of a comprehensive eye exam or preparing the patient for a procedure, you should strive to convey the information clearly.
You shouldn’t overwhelm the patient with information but instead give them a complete picture of their eye health. It’s also important to talk to them on a personal level, patiently explaining medical concepts in simple terms and treating them like a friend to help them feel at ease.
What skills should an optometrist have?
Optometrists have various eye care responsibilities, including diagnosing eye disease, prescribing corrective lenses, and managing eye conditions. They need excellent communication skills to provide thorough services and convey crucial medical information.
Eye doctors also perform a detailed eye examination, including vision assessment, external and internal ocular examination, and visual field test. They should be able to interpret and present their findings clearly and effectively.
What are the daily activities of an optometrist?
Eye doctors conduct eye exams to determine visual acuity and diagnose impairments. The typical day of an optometrist will involve:
- Examine eyes using observation, instruments, etc.
- Analyze results and create a treatment program
- Diagnose issues such as low vision or myopia
- Prescribe corrective lenses, vision aids, and medications
- Educate patients, such as informing glaucoma patients about treatment
- Provide pre- and post-operative care to patients having eye surgeries
What are some optometry practice management tips?
To help your practice grow, you should find ways to improve overall office productivity and efficiency. These strategies could include preparing for patients before appointments, identifying your practice’s goals, optimizing your scheduling, automating insurance confirmations, prioritizing staff training, and holding regular meetings to assess progress.
Take Your Practice to the Next Level
The key is offering your patients the best possible experience through well-organized patient education. When your focus is treating patients, keeping up with patient information and scheduling can be challenging.
If you want your practice to run as smoothly as possible, an all-in-one business toolkit like Weave can provide simple, elegant solutions to work out your snags. Weave allows you to call, text, and charge patients all in the same app. If your patients have questions about their treatments, they can message you directly and receive helpful information from their providers while barely lifting a finger.
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