Although I doubt Hamlet was on Santini’s mind when he wrote this article, the question he explores—whether or not an optometrist should provide a patient’s PD along with their prescription—arises from a drama that’s almost worthy of Shakespeare. It’s a conflict that plays out every day in eyecare practices around the country, as more consumers ask their eye doctors for their PD measurements so they can then go purchase eyeglasses online.
As Santini notes, tensions build between doctor and patient when ODs are reluctant to release a patient’s PD because it means they are “losing a bit more of their historical control over the sale of prescription eyewear.” Times are changing though, as consumers demand more transparency in all their interactions with health care professionals. Because of this, Santini believes that ODs are bound to lose the struggle over PDs, and he marshals a formidable array of facts to support his argument.
I agree with Santini. Consumers are not going to stop demanding what they believe is rightfully theirs. In today’s consumer-centric world, you swim against the tide at your own risk.
Instead of balking when a patient asks for their PD, why not use the opportunity to talk with them about their pending online eyewear purchase? Perhaps the deal they’re seeking or the eyewear style they want is not so different than what you can offer them, either through your brick- and-mortar dispensary or perhaps your own online dispensary. Don’t be afraid to remind patients that your skilled staff can help them select the best-looking and best-fitting eyewear, and that you can offer them a range of options too.
You may not persuade every patient to abandon their online purchase, but you’ll certainly get some to think twice about it. More importantly, they’ll see you as an ally, not an antagonist.
We hope “The Power and Politics of the PD” will get you thinking about how you can do better to serve your customers, even if meeting their needs may feel uncomfortable at first. If you’d like to join the conversation about releasing PDs with prescriptions, please visit our blog at 2020andu.com.
Group Editor, Lenses and Technology