We’ve all been there: you leave a store spending more than you intended on something you didn’t really need then instantly feel buyer’s remorse once you get home. We all hate that experience, and you’d never want patients to leave your office feeling disappointed. So when presenting patients with elective treatments, how do you “sell them” without acting like a used car salesman?
It is essential that patients understand the benefits of elective treatments to ensure they can make an informed care decision. In fact, shared decision-making has been shown to positively influence patient understanding, satisfaction, and trust – potentially improving health outcomes.
The goal of shared-decision making is for patients to leave your practice feeling confident that they made the right decision about their care.
The best way to sell patients on the latest treatment option isn’t to sell them at all. Instead – educate them. Educated patients will leave their appointment knowing they made an informed decision, rather than one based on the charisma of a revenue-conscious business owner. Here are some strategies:
1. Avoid jargon. Chances are your patients did not attend medical school. Using phrases like “adverse events” or “comparative effectiveness” can isolate patients from the conversation. Use simple, concise phrases that get straight to the point. Confusing patients with complicated, impersonal language undermines the doctor-patient relationship. Plus, if they don’t understand the treatment when they are right in front of you, they won’t be able to explain it to family and friends. This will make them doubt their decision even more.
2. Be transparent. Have a conversation prior to treatment oulining what outcomes they can expect. Manage expectations by discussing risks as well as benefits. Clearly outline side-effects and ask your patient questions, replacing yes-or-no questions with ones that require descriptive answers. This is also a great time to use the teach-back method so you can be sure they understand what you are saying and have realistic expectations.
For more on this topic, see How the Teach-Back Technique Can Increase Patient Compliance
3. Name your price. Because patients are paying increasingly high deductibles, they are more price-conscious than ever and are wary about shelling out even more for their health. Talk them through exactly what they will be paying, and discuss options so they don’t feel surprised once they see the bill. While the price discussion may be uncomfortable, it is also an opportunity to position yourself as your patient’s advocate and build trust.
4. Doggy bag it. Present your patient with their treatment options while they are in the office, but don’t leave it at that. Give them the information to take home so they can discuss it with family and friends. This also affords them the opportunity to review the information without the pressure of you and your staff looking over their shoulder. And because patients are looking for health information online, try sharing online educational videos rather than handing them a stack of paper. They’ll retain the information better and feel more confident in their decision. The best part? This positions you as a trusted source for current and future care.
For more on this topic, see Don’t Just Speak to Your Patients, Show Them
At the end of the day, your medical practice is a business and it’s easy to get caught up focusing on revenue. However, you can’t forget that your patients are people and want to be treated like they are more than just a number.
Want help from an educational resource with shareable content that is easy for patients to understand? Below is some of Rendia’s latest content, which can help your patients make informed and confident decisions about their elective treatments.
Take the long view with extended depth-of-focus IOL (TECNIS Symfony ®)
One of our most commonly requested videos has been the “Extended Depth of Focus IOL”, also called the TECNIS Symfony ® IOL. Our newest video explains this new technology by showing patients the expected visual outcomes from this implant, ideal for those who frequently read on computers and desire a continuous range of vision for near, intermediate, and far distances. We are grateful to Dr. Timothy McGarity of Restoration Eye Care and Dr. Leiv Takle Jr. of Takle Eye Group for advising us on this topic.
Laser focus on laser cataract surgery
If your practice offers laser cataract surgery, use this vignette, “Benefits of Laser Cataract Surgery” to convey some of the advantages of the procedure to your patients.
Want to show your expertise in eyewear? Give patients tips about how to take perfect pics – while wearing their favorite pair of glasses. Use our latest vignette, “Take Better Photos With Glasses” to help your clients put their best faces forward. Let them know you offer anti-reflective lenses, too.