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Optometrist and clinical development manager at Bayfields Opticians, Diba Choudhury, on establishing an OCT offering across the independent
The use of advanced technology, such as optical coherence tomography (OCT), during the eye examination has been a large focus for Bayfields over the last few years, with nine of our 17 practices now fitted with OCTs.
Rolling out OCT into a practice is a two-pronged approach for Bayfields. While the first is the installation of the device and the internal training of clinical and support staff, the second is how we communicate and market the offering to our clients.
Ahead of the rollout, we did some research and looked at what other practices were offering OCT for and decided to set our fee at £30 for NHS patients and £54 for a private client, including retinal photography.
Understanding that training both inside the consulting room and front of house is of equal importance. As soon as a practice takes delivery of an OCT, the clinicians who will perform the scans receive full training from the manufacturer. Afterwards, everyone in the team will have a scan so that they are aware of what is involved and can observe the results of the technology. The reaction from the team has been fantastic, the optometrists are wild about the technology and the information they get, while support staff are fascinated with the images.
"With over half of our practices now fitted with an OCT, we have learned a lot over the last 18 months about how to market the device to clients"
To aid the support team in talking to clients about the device and its benefits, we have created a company-wide sales toolkit. This toolkit consists of a presentation about why Bayfields invested in the technology, as well as videos from some of our optometrists and practice managers explaining the benefits of utilising the technology on clients, as well as eye health issues it can detect. All team members view the toolkit when an OCT is installed and can return to it at their convenience thereafter.
The team also has access to a prepared script that discusses the key benefits of the device. This script is designed to aid them when initially talking to clients about the new piece of equipment in practice– the feedback has been that it’s helped them feel more at ease.
However, we have realised that continued training is key. There is a lot to take in and learn for both optometrists and the front of house team when the device is new to a practice. Therefore, we ensure that OCT knowledge and skills are discussed with all team members until it becomes habit and second nature. It is also rewarding to see our team members development and their confidence grow as we see more and more ‘wowed’ eye care clients after they have had an advanced eye examination.
With over half of our practices now fitted with an OCT, we have learned a lot over the last 18 months about how to market the device to clients.
Take up at first was slow, so as a business we created a range of literature and client-facing leaflets that have boosted take up of OCT.
This literature ranges from a page on our website where clients can read up about the OCT, to A1-sized posters in practice and information brochures on the reception desks.
We have also utilised our social media platforms to make clients aware of the offering, and OCT appointments are available to book via our app and online portal, which we encourage clients to book their eye examination through.
This information is complemented by a series of e-shots to our client base to let them know when an OCT device arrives in practice and the benefits of the technology. The device is also mentioned in our recall letters to clients as we try to educate them about the device through a range of methods to ensure that they do not miss our messaging.