There are many reasons why starting a dry eye retail center can be beneficial for your practice and your patients.
Why do doctors sometimes recommend patients buy OTC drops or products from a pharmacy?
It’s because we are taught to do so in school and is a behavior pattern we have learned from our colleagues.
The recommendation of OTC products leads to patients buying products that are not only inferior, but it's also not the standard of care for the treatment of dry eye.
Poor compliance and patient frustration with minimal gains in symptomatic improvement are what naturally tend to follow.
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You need to understand the standard of care for dry eye and develop a treatment protocol.
The standard of care for dry eye varies between clinicians, but patients should be classified into categories based upon their clinical signs and symptoms.
Patients with moderate to severe symptoms of dry eye, or signs such as corneal punctate staining are beyond palliative OTC products and should be treated with prescription therapeutics in conjunction with premium OTC products that are most appropriate for them.
Clinicians need to pick a published protocol from literature or develop their own protocol tailored to their liking. This helps increase efficiency and improves clinical outcomes.
This cycle of non-compliance is what discourages doctors from treating dry eye and can leave them with the feeling that the current treatment options are not efficacious.
Doctors eventually begin to think treating dry eye patients is a waste of time since some patients do not witness any successful symptomatic improvement.
Here’s a 36 page guide on understanding dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction. Learn how you can treat MGD using LipiFlow, and how to bring this technology to your practice.
Why Develop Your Own Dry Eye Retail Center?
A dry eye retail center can be the key to putting a stop to this cycle.
A retail center is a conceptual term referring to dry eye retail products you have for sale at your office.
Retailing premium products in your office will not only increase compliance, it will also decrease patient confusion, and enhance clinical outcomes. The financial outcome of doing this can also be attractive.
Keep Revenue In Your Practice
Let’s face it; selling retail products isn’t something that will make you rich.
Or will it?
Do the math and you will be surprised at how a retail center for your dry eye products can be an excellent source of income for your practice.
Selling just a few products on a daily basis can certainly cover the overhead of a full-time employee each day.
How much will this revenue add up to in a year’s time? What will the amount of profitability gained in five years be? What about a twenty-year look into the future?
Instituting Your Treatment Protocol
When prescribing a treatment regimen to a new dry eye patient, you should always take ample time to communicate the importance of that treatment plan to the patient.
Proceed by going over each prescribed item one at a time and educate your patient on what products can be purchased at checkout that day in your office, and then highlight the benefits of purchasing the products you recommended at your office.
Patients seen in a dry eye clinic are there for a reason. They have suffered long enough and have come to seek expert help. This opens up the relationship of trust.
It’s not sales, it’s medicine.
The key is to not overwhelm the patient with more than 2 -3 recommended products to purchase. The other less important products can be purchased elsewhere or at another time.
Benefits Of Patients Purchasing Products At Your Office
- Decreased confusion when trying to find these products at the pharmacy or grocery store
- Ease of purchase since you offer premium products that are not found on the internet or at a retail store
- The convenience factor since you can offer the same price or at times even better than what the item is valued for on the internet, if it is available online.
Premium products can be better for your patients.
Oftentimes, patients use generic brand artificial tears like Equate or other inferior products, which can worsen the problem because they contain a lot of preservatives.
Premium products have better therapeutic efficacy with fewer side effects.
These products utilize better technology when compared to older inferior OTC products. A great example of this are the newer advanced lid hygiene products that contain hypochlorous acid. These have “changed the game” with a paradigm shift from the baby shampoo and lid scrubs recommendations given for decades.
Elevate Your Dry Eye Retail Practice
If you want to elevate your dry eye clinic and grow your business, you will need to increase revenue, increase compliance, and decrease patient confusion and frustration arising from insufficient symptomatic improvement.
This will get you happier patients and you will enjoy the satisfaction of watching clinical signs and symptoms improve.
This information is not novel and you have heard about these benefits from your reps and colleagues before.
The difference is making the decision to take action and doing what needs to be done. You might have a few retail products currently, or you may have the creation of a retail center on your to-do-list.
Now is a great time to make it happen.
Want to create a dry eye retail center but need more help?
We’ve coordinated our efforts with Josh Johnston, O.D., F.A.A.O., founder of Oculus Consulting Partners and the Clinical Director at Georgia Eye Partners and adjunct faculty member at Southern College of Optometry.
In an effort to help our readers expand their knowledge of dry eye we recommend that readers talk with Dr. Johnston and visit the Oculus Consulting Partners website.
In summary, Oculus Consulting Partners was created to give your practice everything you need to run a successful dry eye clinic. They’ve deconstructed the complex process of building a dry eye clinic and developed all of the resources and blueprints needed to make your dry eye practice thrive.
Check out their site to get a FREE customized dry eye diagnostic protocol. This is a diagnostic testing clinical protocol based on the current diagnostic tests and equipment in your office.
Matt Geller O.D.
President | CovalentCareers