For many patients, a visit to the eye doctor used to be about as exciting as a trip to the dentist, but usually less uncomfortable. Then doctors started making their offices into a “destination experience” for patients. Many remodeled, adding contemporary furniture, lighting and displays. Others installed video monitors so patients could watch special programs about the latest ¬≠eyewear products. Some even installed juice bars or espresso makers. All these things make the patient’s experience more pleasant.

But today, patients want more. Most importantly, they want their eyecare experience to be as technologically up-to-date as the rest of their world. That might mean sending patients text messages to remind them of their upcoming visit. It could involve using an iPad to capture patient data in the waiting room, or play a video that demonstrates how the latest intraocular lenses can improve their vision. It could mean using a digital measuring and imaging system to fit their new glasses, and then e-mailing their image to a friend to show them how they look. Or it might mean interacting with patients via Facebook, responding to their comments on a Yelp review, or via a DemandForce page linked to Facebook.

The point of all of these approaches is to engage patients in a way that gets them more involved in their eyecare experience. Patients will appreciate the personalized care they are receiving, and many will be eager to spread the word, often via positive reviews on websites.

How are you harnessing the latest technology to create a better experience for your patients?

—Andrew Karp