Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this debut blog by Julie Gough-Nelson, marketing director at Shepherd Eye Center in Las Vegas, NV. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of or UBM Advanstar.
Let’s face it: ophthalmology is a diverse segment of a vast health care system. With such a myriad of subspecialties, it’s often that you’ll find practices focusing on just one, creating for themselves a niche in the community.
That’s not to say that a diverse approach to ophthalmology within the practice is impossible, but in order for those lesser-known service lines to be visible to patients, the practice communications specialist must find new and different ways to reach those potential patients.
Summer here in Vegas seems to be health fair season, and our practice is always in the thick of it. On any given day, you may find me at a hotel and casino letting employees know that their insurance is accepted at our clinics for routine or full medical exams. On a Friday in July, I found myself at a local attraction sharing information with pediatricians at the local chapter meeting of the American Academy of Pediatricians.
This was not happenstance. Referrals are a large part of any ophthalmology practice, and this particular day was important for reaching the local pediatricians and pediatric residents in the area. Some had interacted with our practice in the past, and others were hearing for that first time that there was a fellowship-trained pediatric ophthalmologist available for referrals.
AAP guidelines dictate that pediatricians routinely screen children’s eyes during their first year of life at their milestone well child checkups. Furthermore, upon entering school, it is recommended that children receive a comprehensive eye exam. The reality is that the sooner conditions can be found, the greater potential for successful treatments.