The birth of a potential project idea.
More and more, I had come to the conclusion that money was the biggest motivating factor for patients to get cataract surgery, and that simply counseling alone—unless carried out with a skill far beyond what we have available to us—was not enough to convert large numbers of patients. In fact, I had become ready to move onto refraction as a more promising model to work from. Yet a part of me was loath to let go of the patient population that I had been so involved these past few weeks.
Today, as I was reading through some other project proposals, one line jumped out at me—“offer patients a portion of their surgical fee for returning for glaucoma follow-up”—and ignited a new idea.
Knowledge and awareness about cataract is truly lacking, but if money is still the largest motivating factor, why not combine the two? I still believe that pseudophakic motivators (patients who have already successfully undergone surgery) are the most promising force in spreading awareness about cataract. But to wait for knowledge to simply trickle down through word-of-mouth would take far too long.
So how about this: give pseudophakic motivators an opportunity to “pay for” a portion of their surgical fees by helping out afterwards as counselors. Also give them a chance to cover yet another portion of the fees by referring new patients who are eligible for and accept surgery. Give all of our motivators special T-shirts, straw-hats, etc. with their role proudly emblazoned across the front and it will be sure to get the knowledge around.
There are two crucial questions that will determine the effectiveness of such a proposal. One, what percentage of patients is able to afford cataract surgery but currently isn’t willing to pay the price? And two, what percentage of patients needing surgery are accessible by pseudophakic motivators?