The Secret to Happy Cataract Patients

Patients aren’t always satisfied with the end results of cataract surgery, even if they receive the best visual outcome possible. As it turns out, best corrected visual acuity is just one factor in leaving patients satisfied with your service – and not necessarily the most important one to boot.

How can you make sure your patients are satisfied?

The best way to make sure your cataract patients are 20/happy is to understand – and meet – their expectations.

Researchers have found that patient-centered care are associated with improved clinical outcomes, health service efficiency, and positive effects on healthcare business metrics. They’re also linked to higher patient satisfaction.

So how do you achieve this patient-centered approach?

1. Have them fill out a lifestyle questionnaire

Lifestyle questionnaires are an excellent way to learn more about your patients. During a lifestyle questionnaire, patients fill out a form outlining their symptoms, their hobbies, and their career.  A good lifestyle questionnaire shouldn’t only educate the surgeon, however – it should also educate the patients about the surgery and manage their expectations about the outcome.

We recommend the Dell questionnaire, a lifestyle questionnaire designed to help surgeons identify the right IOL for each patient. The questionnaire was first published in 2004, and has been recently been updated to reflect changing technology, both in ophthalmic surgery and the world in general.

2. Ask them why they’re seeing you

“What brings you in today?” It’s a deceptively simple question, but it can make all the difference. By asking a patient why they made the appointment, you can determine what kind of visual outcome they’re hoping for. Some people might tell you they’re bothered by night driving, whereas others might mention they’ve been having trouble reading the newspaper or playing catch with their grandchildren.

Either way, listening to your patients discuss how impaired vision is affecting their life right now can be a great way to gauge their expectations for the future.

3. Stay realistic

No one will be emerging from cataract surgery with superhuman vision, regardless of how much you pay out of pocket. Patients who choose premium IOLs should be informed about the technology’s strengths and weaknesses – for instance, multifocal lenses may improve both their near and distance vision, but they also lead to an increased risk of glare and halos at night.

Make sure your patients understand the risks and benefits of the procedure. They should also understand that certain concurrent conditions – for instance, dry eye – might influence the outcome of their surgery.

4. Give them a choice

Don’t railroad your patients into choosing the “right” IOL – let them choose for themselves! That being said, you don’t want to overwhelm them with too many choices. One way to present options to your patients is to create distinct packages based on visual outcomes. Patients won’t care about brand names or laser technology – they just want to make sure the surgery will meet their expectations.

Sightpath Medical provides surgeons and facilities with custom access to a wide variety of equipment, instruments, and supplies for cataract surgery including premium IOLs. We’re proudly vendor neutral, allowing you to provide your customers with exactly the solution they need.