BOSTON – Alcon announced that it is working with Google to identify the type of information sought by patients about to undergo cataract surgery and provide education for them.
Chuck Marshall, head of patient engagement strategy for Alcon’s U.S. Surgical Marketing, said at a company-sponsored press conference here at Optometry’s Meeting that 3.8 million cataract procedures were performed in 2015, and that number is expected to grow by 3% in 2016. Forty percent of all cataract surgery patients were referred by an optometrist, and in 2015, 45% of the U.S. population was 50 years and older.
He added that the demand for eye care services has been projected to increase 28% from 2005 to 2020 and that the supply of ophthalmologists is expected to increase only 2% in that period.
“Our goal is to understand that while consumers are out looking for information, we want to be there with product-agnostic, patient-centric education,” Marshall said. “We’re partnering with Google on this product. It’s about helping the optometrist educate the patient, which ultimately helps the practice.
“We will reveal this project as we work with Google to reflect what the patient is looking for along their journey and when,” he continued.
Marshall noted that the #1 search term people use on Google is “after cataract surgery” once they have their diagnosis.
“Patients want to hear from people like themselves, not Google and not their doctors,” he said.
He explained that Alcon is conducting a pilot program where representatives go into a Bingo room to get post-cataract patients to discuss their experiences for those who have yet to have the surgery.
On July 11, www.mycataracts.com will go live, Marshall said.
“Educated patients are more confident in their decisions,” he said.
In June, which was Cataract Awareness Month, the company kicked off a campaign with ophthalmologist Ed Holland, MD, and actress Cheryl Ladd to publicize the message: Know Your Cataract Eye-Q.
"Our goal has been doubled in the first 2 weeks with the amount of impressions,” Marshall said.
Patients can go to www.cataracteyeq.com. – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO