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Top 4 Takeaways from ASCRS 2016

The best way to find out about new technologies, research, and products that are changing the way ophthalmologists practice is to attend the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) annual symposium. The next best way? Check out our recap of the top four takeaways from this year’s event, which took place in New Orleans May 6-10.

1. Use personalized video marketing to grow your brand. Social media was an important topic at ASCRS, and the main message was: if you’re not on it, you’re missing out. Healthcare social media leader Kevin Pho, M.D. (aka KevinMD), gave this year’s ASCRS Lecture on Science, Medicine and Technology. He discussed three ways social media can be an important tool in medicine: to connect with and educate patients, to define your online reputation, and to make your voice heard.

Dr. Pho said 7 out of 10 Internet users search the web for health information. Yet their findings aren’t always accurate—more than 90 percent of health articles on Wikipedia contain inaccuracies. And 44 percent of people are searching for doctors online, but less than 10 percent go past the first page of search results. You can take control of what patients find by putting your own branded, high-quality content out there, said Dr. Pho. As we’ve discussed before, practices are increasingly using video to show up at the top of search engine results, and to engage and educate potential patients.

‪Our neighbors in the exhibit hall, FastTrack Marketing, showed off their skills at helping doctors generate new patients. Need some help with your media planning, digital marketing, and strategy? Check out their eBook, “Tangible Tips to Improve Your Elective Surgery Marketing,” or give them a call.

2. Invest in smart EHR solutions. As always, the ASCRS exhibit hall included dozens of EHR options. More than 80 percent of doctors in the U.S. now use EHRs, according to HealthcareIT News. More and more practices are moving to cloud-based EHRs and patient education programs to avoid the upfront cost of new software and computers.

Whether you’re looking for your first EHR, or looking to switch to a new EHR, our fellow exhibitor and new partner, Modernizing Medicine, has developed specialty-specific EHR solutions that now include our very own Echo patient education videos. EMA Ophthalmology ™ was built by practicing ophthalmologists to create efficiencies, improve outcomes, and integrate seamlessly into your workflow.

Since a major complaint doctors have is that all EHRs do not fit all specialties, one that is specially designed for your particular day-to-day tasks and billing codes goes a long way towards saving you time and hassle. For more ideas, see our previous post on making your EHR work for you.

3. Rally around LASIK. Laser refractive surgery has come a long way since PRK was first performed in 1987. Recent advancements in LASIK technology and techniques have greatly improved the ability of today’s ophthalmologists to deliver customized treatment plans and outcomes, reports ASCRS, which featured the symposium, “Bringing Back LASIK: Where Do We Go from Here?” at this year’s conference.

Now more than ever, laser refractive surgery is a life-changing option for many patients, whether it’s treating myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism. But do your patients know this? And is your practice prepared to address LASIK’s benefits, limitations, and controversies? Today, more people are doing their research online–especially millennials, who are more influenced by educational information than discounts.

Our new videos have been developed to convey the most important information at each step along the patient’s journey. They can clear up misinformation (See: “Difference between LASIK and PRK”), deliver pre-op and post-op instructions, and promote LASIK to potential candidates. By posting on social media, you can take advantage of word-of-mouth referrals by encouraging your satisfied patients to share their experiences and your branded content with family and friends.

4. Take advantage of patient wait time. We heard from customers at ASCRS that wait time is the #1 complaint in ophthalmology practices. How are you making the most of patients’ down time while keeping them happy and actively engaged in their care?

The appearance and amenities of your waiting room are being noticed by patients, and even shared on social media. And studies have shown that the actual wait time is not as important to people as the perception of their wait. If their time was spent doing something pleasant or productive, patients are less likely to notice — let alone complain about — the wait.

At our booth at ASCRS, we showed off Echo on a cool new device that is smaller than a deck of cards, cost-effective, and an easy way to show Echo on any TV in your office without additional hardware or IT costs.

Another option to take advantage of your existing screens is with our new integration with M&S Smart System® 20/20, which allows access to Echo videos in the exam room with one click from your remote control. Choose personalized content for each patient, from topics like glaucoma to refractive errors. We’re offering a free two-week trial for M&S users. You’ll receive access to our entire video library, interactive chair-side tool, offline apps, and more. For more information, contact acuity@eyemaginations.com.

What was your number-one takeaway from ASCRS this year? Share it with us on Twitter, and make sure to use the official #ASCRSASOA2016 hashtag! And if you haven’t already, subscribe to our blog to stay on top of industry trends and technology.

By: Rachel Bishop on in News