BLOG: A premium experience for patients can translate to premium procedures
At Kugler Vision, we view refractive surgery as an opportunity to help improve people’s lives.
When patients choose our practice to undergo a refractive procedure, whether that is refractive cataract surgery, refractive lens exchange (RLE) or implantable contact lens (ICL), we take that commitment very seriously and see it as a responsibility to ensure they have a premium experience.
Keeping a focus on the fact that patients are choosing something extra when they undergo a refractive procedure is highly appropriate. After all, they are agreeing to some degree of out-of-pocket expenditure and, as such, really deserve to appreciate the value of what they pay for. In that context, the experience is really part and parcel to the procedure. We want patients to have a positive experience not simply because it’s good for business or because we think it will make patients feel better about spending a little extra; instead, they have entrusted us with one of their most valued commodities — their vision — and are asking for our help in improving their lives.
Ever since we decided to offer cataract surgery as an office-based procedure, we have been able to increase conversion rates, particularly with RLE and ICL. One key reason why is that we can provide the LASIK-like experience that our patients are expecting. A lot of these patients have family and friends who have had LASIK with us, so they are expecting that same level of service.
Previously, our premium procedures were done in a very good ASC across town. They offered a great patient experience, had top-notch equipment on site, and were run by an excellent and professional staff. And so, I always took it for granted that patients were comfortable going there. But now that we have had our in-office OR, I have learned that patients are much more comfortable coming here because they are used to the physicians that are here, as well as the staff and the facility. Again, there is a reason the patient chose us for their refractive procedure, so it makes sense that they want to have everything done in a familiar setting.
Moving to office-based surgery has some other tangible benefits. In our clinic, we have been able to decrease our cost per case significantly because we can control the supplies, vendors, staff expenses and several other direct costs. As well, we are now able to do about 80% of our procedures using just oral sedation, with the remainder done in a class B environment with a nurse anesthetist present for monitoring and to have IV sedation available if needed. That has been a huge cost savings for patients, and they really appreciate that. Perhaps more importantly, I find it to be a safer and more comfortable way to do the procedure.
We now do 100% of our premium services in our in-office suite, and that move has been a real boon for our business model, as well as for controlling the experience these patients have. As one more additional benefit, we have found that staff is more engaged with these patients and are better equipped to discuss refractive procedures because they have firsthand experience in an OR setting. That enthusiasm and expertise are a big reason why conversion rates have improved and how our staff are able to answer questions and reduce patients’ anxieties.