The Importance of Effective Patient Communication


Four years ago, in July 2017, Megan Douglas joined EYEcenter Optometric as their full-time Marketing Director. Since her arrival, she has managed all marketing and communication for EYEcenter Optometric, a five-location optometry office spread across the Sacramento region in California.

Megan focused her marketing efforts on raising brand awareness, bringing in new business, and retaining customers in the community. “The first few years were a lot of trial and error to see what would resonate with our customers,” she recounts. Their tactics included attending public events, advertising at schools and retirement homes, digital and print advertising, direct mail campaigns, and social media marketing.

Her commitment to elevate EYEcenter Optometric has helped Meghan and the team take a holistic approach to marketing. “It was beneficial that the practice had available resources and foresight for a full-time role dedicated to marketing efforts. Having someone spend time paying attention to messaging and developing our patient communications is huge.”

Megan has worked to create and implement a strong brand identity, relevant content, and regular performance tracking and reporting for the EYEcenter Optometric Team. “They have given me a great deal of trust and have empowered me to do what’s right for the business.” Megan coordinates and meets with her team regularly. “Open lines of communication with management has been crucial; we have worked hard to make sure everyone is on the same page,” she says.

Lessons Learned: Communication in the Time of COVID-19

During the height of the pandemic, EYEcenter Optometric made it a priority to stay in constant contact with their patients and community. “We sent out notifications when each location re-opened and did a lot of social media posts, with updates for our customers. We also sent out a regular e-blasts as things changed by the day,” remembers Megan.

Consistent transparency set them apart, clearing the way for opportunities for growth. “New patients came in who weren’t receiving any communication from their optometrists and didn’t know if their doors were open. They came to us because we were communicative about our office hours, cleaning procedures, capacity quotes, and what a patient could expect during a visit. We made them feel safe coming in,” says Megan.

Global pandemic or not, Megan has found the Marketing Dashboard in Eyefinity Practice Management hugely beneficial in creating strong marketing campaigns to stay connected with their patients and help grow the business.

The Power of Marketing Reports

EYEcenter Optometric first implemented Eyefinity Practice Management in May 2019. The Marketing Dashboard has been a highly effective tool on Megan’s communication toolbox. “The reporting capabilities in Eyefinity Practice Management are much more advanced than what we used to have with OfficeMate. It has been a valuable asset to have metrics that track our patients’ journeys. I can dive deep into the reports in Eyefinity Practice Management to understand what happens during each patient interaction. Using data to create communications, help influence and bring our patients along a particular path,” explains Megan.

The Marketing Dashboard in Eyefinity Practice Management allows her to look at data using a variety of demographic factors, insurers, and sales information. “We used to just get a total number of patients who had visited our practice within a certain time frame. The incredible amount of data available from the Marketing Dashboard is much more granular; our practice can track the patient journey from beginning to end.” Being able to better understand their patient’s unique needs gives her the ability to craft communications that are more impactful to their customer segments.

The reporting in Eyefinity Practice Management may be even more powerful for practices that don’t have the bandwidth or resources to hire someone to work on practice marketing and patient communication full time. With robust reporting capabilities, smaller practices can still access and use their data, honing-in on the individual needs of their patients.

Some of her favorite Eyefinity Practice Management reports include:

  • Recall reports
  • Sales reports
  • Reports by provider
  • Discount reasons
  • Flash sale reports

For Megan, a benefit of using Eyefinity Practice Management in tandem with Eyefinity EHR is the capacity to interface with a variety of other applications and technologies they use in the practice. “Eyefinity is web-based and cloud-based, which makes it easy and seamless to access from anywhere!” she says. That really came in handy a year ago, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to temporarily close and drastically change their processes in order to re-open.