October 3, 2022
By Rajeev Garg, PhD, MBA, Global Head Myopia Management Strategy, CooperVision
With a welcoming ambiance, use of comprehensible technology, and straightforward process in the office, everyone works together to provide a great experience to the patient at every touch point.
I took my teenage son to his first orthodontic appointment, and the experience made me wonder about the state of myopia management and how we can transform the category.
Our experience at the orthodontic practice was exceptional. After being pleasantly greeted, we were ushered, without any wait, into a well-furnished room that did not have the feeling of a traditional doctor’s office. All diagnostics were conducted digitally and promptly uploaded to the screen before us. Our counselor explained different orthodontics options using physical models sitting right in front of us. The doctor visited for an evaluation, explained the diagnostics, took time to answer any medical questions, and left with a clear recommendation that we get orthodontics. The doctor spent about the same amount of time with us as a regular dentist would.
We did not have to move at all during the entire process — the office moved around us. He delegated the salesperson (sorry, the counselor) to explain the details and costs. The counselor answered most of the questions, and like an expert salesperson, she asked our son a list of exploratory lifestyle questions. She promptly developed a recommendation for what our child needs, which came with an out-of-pocket cost of a few thousand dollars, and she booked us for the fitting appointment (i.e., the close).
My experience was eerily similar as I walked the customer journey in successful surgical ophthalmology offices specializing in premium cataract surgery. During my decade of work in ophthalmology, I’ve made similar observations across the globe, whether it’s an ophthalmology practice in the U.S., Europe, or an emerging world like my hometown in India.
Elevate the Myopia Management Customer Journey
This experience and my past learnings have made me wonder if this approach can help make myopia management a standard of care and ultimately benefit our children. We need eye care professionals and their offices to emulate the customer experience journey from orthodontics and premium cataract surgery practices to move the myopia management category forward. With a welcoming ambiance, use of comprehensible technology, and straightforward process in the office, everyone works together to provide a great experience to the patient at every touch point. This approach results in a tremendous benefit for your patients and a thriving practice for you.
Some eye care professionals have adopted this approach (though there are few in the country). Tour through one of those practices or pay a visit to the office of a surgical ophthalmologist specializing in premium cataract surgery with whom you may already have a referral relationship for elderly patients. Reference books in this area can also help you establish a customer experience-based practice (e.g., Beyond Bedside Manner by my good friend S. Mahdavi).
The role of an expert counselor is of the utmost importance, so consider investing in that resource. Please note that we did not feel like we were being sold to. I am referring to counselors as salespeople because of my marketing background and after observing their role in helping develop the premium cataract surgery subspecialty. The counselor plays a crucial role in building the relationship with the patients, explaining options (e.g., assisting the patient in selecting the right product that meets their lifestyle and budget), and, more importantly, helping save chair time by letting the doctor be the doctor.
Embrace Myopia Management as Standard of Care
It is impressive how the dental industry ecosystem (provider, professional societies, payors, and industry) has ingrained in us parents to take our children for an annual dental exam and how we are tuned to thinking it is natural for kids to have braces. We need to do the same for the myopia management category and ensure all stakeholders collaborate to establish that children’s vision exams are part of our culture. It also needs to be clear that for myopic children that myopia management is the natural and only choice for parents.
The noteworthy aspect is that when I asked the doctor whether my son medically needs braces, he very calmly responded that 70% of this is for aesthetics and may help my son in the future. Myopia control solutions have serious medical and quality-of-life benefits for our children and cost to society.
Today, we have a solid clinical, evidence-based, and FDA-approved myopia control soft contact lens — and other accepted products such as orthokeratology and atropine — available at our disposal for myopia management. So, embrace the World Council of Optometry’s standard of care resolution and start practicing myopia management today. A child’s myopia progression is irreversible. Every diopter counts when it comes to our children’s vision. By learning from other medical subspecialties and establishing your practice with customers at its center, you can have a thriving and profitable practice and help our future generations achieve their best potential.
|As CooperVision’s Global Head of Myopia Management Strategy, Rajeev Garg, PhD, MBA, leads the development of CooperVision’s strategy across its portfolio of myopia management companies and products, including market development, acquisitions and joint ventures, technology licensing, and lifecycle management initiatives in this growing segment of vision care. Dr. Garg brings more than 20 years of experience driving innovation and growth in health care, including optometry and ophthalmology. He received his PhD in chemical engineering from Princeton University, an MBA in strategy and marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and a BTech in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.|