Christmas in July” may be a cliché, but it seems like the last half of the year flies by, and before I know it, we’re facing another holiday season and end-of-year wrap-up. I confess that this time of year always sneaks up on me, wishing I had more time to prepare something timely and engaging for both my office and my patients, but there are still ways to recognize the busiest season of all.
While we encourage patients to make a comprehensive eye exam a part of their annual health checklist, we often get to the final quarter of the year and realize patients are overdue. My office made October “Medicare Month.” We sent out flyers to all our Medicare patients that offered a discount on eyewear and reminded them that their deductibles more than likely had been met for the year. Therefore we suggested that they take advantage of this unique time of year to update their eyewear needs.
This same message could easily be adapted to do the same with flexible spending accounts (FSAs). These funds “expire” at the end of the calendar year, and oftentimes patients don’t know how to use the remaining funds. Offering a discount on new frames or a “buy-one-get-one” deal offers perceived value and an impetus to get patients to visit the office.
This is a great time of year to ensure that your practice’s information is correct on the Think About Your Eyes online locator. New patients looking to make an appointment can search for a doctor near them. More than two million people have visited the website this year alone! So you want to ensure that they find the most updated information about you and your practice.
We also incorporate the holidays into our patient communications. More popular than ever, gift cards were ranked as the number one “wish list” item, so we offer gift certificates for use on products or services. These are especially helpful for the person in your life who never spends time or money on themselves but desperately needs an updated prescription or replacement frames.
End of year is also a good time to recognize your employees. My office tries to host an office luncheon every few months, but during the holiday season we add a white elephant gift exchange. I’m also mindful of holiday travel needs and try to accommodate time with family as much as possible.
The checklist at this time of year never grows shorter, but it’s our job to ensure we’re set up for success in 2019 for both our employees and our patients.
Mario Contaldi, OD, is a member of the Texas Optometric Association and among the 20,000 doctors listed on the Think About Your Eyes online locator. Think About Your Eyes is a nationwide public awareness initiative promoting the importance of an annual eye exam and overall vision health. First Vision Media Group supports Think About Your Eyes as a media partner.