When co-management is performed effectively, it can help the patient, the optometrist, and the surgeon. But how do you develop an OD network? And if you already have one, how can you strengthen it?
Below, we’ve listed five things you can do right now to build your OD network.
1. Look at what you have
Before you make a game plan, you need to know what you’re working with. Do you have any current co-management relationships? Are you interested in creating relationships with new optometrists? Take a look at the optometrists in your area and figure out who you’d like to contact.
Your patients are another valuable resource — you can ask them who their primary care provider is and how they were referred to your practice. Once you know where they’re coming from, you can focus your efforts on those doctors.
2. Commission co-branded materials
Commissioning co-branded materials is an excellent way to strengthen your current OD relationships. For instance, you can provide your OD partners with co-branded pamphlets about LASIK, dry eye, cataracts, or anything else that you treat. By commissioning these materials, you’re letting the OD know that you’re committed to working with them long-term. You’ll also get your practice’s name in front of more patients.
Don’t just drop off a handful of brochures and run – speak with your ODs to make sure that they would benefit from these patient education materials. Posters, brochures, and counter-top displays are all excellent ways to create patient awareness.
3. Meet ODs in person
You can’t maintain a strong co-management relationship over the phone. Make sure to regularly visit your ODs. Listen to their concerns, participate in events, and make sure you’re helping them as much as they’re helping you. You might also want to invite them to your facility so that they can watch your procedures and get a better idea of what you do.
If you’re not yet working with any ODs, arrange meetings where you can discuss the benefits of a close optometrist-ophthalmologist relationship. For instance, one major advantage for optometrists who participate in co-management is that after surgery, the majority of patients will require post-operative examinations. These examinations may involve measuring eyes for residual nearsightedness, astigmatism, farsightedness, or the need for reading glasses.
4. Consider participating in events
Have you ever thought about providing educational seminars to your ODs? Educational seminars can be a great way to share valuable ophthalmic knowledge, build bonds, and keep ODs up-to-date on your services.
You might also want to partner with your ODs to host a local event – say, a barbeque or a fair – as a goodwill gesture to the public. It can also be an excellent way to promote public awareness of your services!
5. Say thank you!
It’s a simple gesture, but expressing gratitude can go a long way. Make sure to thank your ODs after each referral, whether via letter or phone call. Let them know that you value your partnership, and that you appreciate them placing their trust in you.
Strong optometrist-ophthalmologist partnerships can foster wide-range of benefits including saving patients time and travel, convenient pre- and post-op examinations, and increased revenue potential for your practice. It also allows the surgeon and the co-managing optometrist to work together to foster patient trust.
Need help building your OD network? Sightpath Medical’s marketing branch, Sightpath Creative, can help you build co-branded patient education materials, design event advertisements, and strengthen your OD network.