Before Dr. Matthew Hammond and Dr. Michael Herion created Carrot LASIK & Eye Center, they were slowly being maddened by the state of ophthalmic care in the Valley. Practices were stuffing their schedules so full that patients were having to wait hours just to see the technician, offices were treating people like numbers on a spreadsheet, and surgeons weren’t getting the opportunity to even meet their patients before their procedures. The case was clear: people didn’t matter anymore. In today’s article, we’ll discuss why Carrot LASIK & Eye Center was founded, why Dr. Hammond and Dr. Herion left the corporate paychecks behind, and what it all means for you, the patient.
Wait Times in Lobby
In the Valley, it has gotten ridiculous how long patients are waiting in the lobby. Lobby are booming in size, just to have people waiting for hours to be seen past their scheduled appointment time. That doesn’t make sense to us. At Carrot LASIK & Eye Center, we spent extra time and effort in designing a schedule that makes sense for our patients’ valuable time. In fact, we’re constantly agonizing over what makes the most sense in our patient flow to reduce your time waiting around.
We’ve spent so much time testing and trying new methods of scheduling, that we’re proud to be under 7 minutes on average from the moment you check in at the front desk, to the moment your name is called to head back. That’s just enough time to finish up any paperwork and set up your next visit, if needed.
What do we do in that 7-minute time? First, one of our lovely front desk team members will walk your chart back to our technicians and relay any information you provided them at check-in. We could go digital with this, but we believe in the human touch, so encourage our employees to collaborate in making your journey mean something.
Next, the technician will prepare a room for you as well as enter your information into any testing equipment we’ll be using during your visit. After reviewing your chart, the tech will enter the lobby and call your name. You aren’t waiting on any other patients and we’re not overbooking our daily capacity. Efficient, clean, and your time comes FIRST.
Fly in Surgeons
LASIK is a big deal in the United States, and an even bigger deal in Arizona. Nationwide, nearly 1 million people receive LASIK every year. While LASIK may be routine for us, we know it is a once in a lifetime moment for you. Across the country, surgeons get flown in from other states just to perform LASIK for a day on dozens of patients, then they fly on to their next contract in a completely different state. Arizona’s LASIK centers are no exception to this rule, with the majority of offices getting their surgeons from California and Washington.
This makes no sense to us. Here you are, nervous about your big day, and you haven’t even met the person who will be performing surgery on your eyes? Just no. You matter and you have the right to meet your surgeon before your procedure. We have an obligation to do everything we can to make your experience positive and reduce any anxiety on such an important day for you.
The Necessity of Meeting your Surgeon
At Carrot LASIK & Eye Center, you get to meet either Dr. Hammond or Dr. Herion BEFORE your surgery, whether it be LASIK, Cataracts, or one of the six vision corrective procedures we offer. They will be there for your consultation or evaluation to educate you on what procedure makes the most sense for your eyes. The doctors will also recommend what option to go with, but only after you understand the different options to you. We want you to understand why we recommend one procedure over another.
During your procedure, the doctor you had your evaluation with will be with you for your surgery, so you already know their voice and know their mannerisms. This might be bragging, but Dr. Hammond and Dr. Herion’s bedside manners are second to none but each other as they walk you through what they are doing as they are doing it.
The next day, guess who is waiting here for you to take a look at your eyes for your day-one post-operative appointment? It’s none other than Dr. Hammond and Dr. Herion checking their work and discussing your concerns and sharing in your excitement. Vision correction surgery is an incredibly rewarding event for most people, and the doctors live off of happy, excited people who are seeing their best for the first time in their lives, for many.
This next line really blows our minds: Dr. Hammond and Dr. Herion give out their PERSONAL, DIRECT cell phone numbers to ALL patients who have surgery with us. You have a question the morning after your surgery? Guess what, they’ll answer. How ridiculous is that?
State-of-the-Art Technology: What it REALLY Means
State-of-the-art technology is most definitely a nice catch phrase, but what does it really mean? Well, it means we could’ve spent a quarter of a million dollars on a simple LASIK laser that does the job. Instead, we invested millions of dollars to get the absolute best laser in the Valley so that every patient has the greatest likelihood of getting the absolute best results you possibly can.
Not only are the lasers the best in the business, but they’re also the safest. Did you know that some patients that are in the middle of LASIK may be forced into a completely different procedure called PRK? We’ve nearly eliminated that risk because the laser we invested in reduces this risk from happening to near zero.
Behind the scenes, we have a proprietary machine-learning technology that takes into account things like room temperature, minute changes in surgery room humidity, and even clinic-wide trends of results and more. Basically, every surgery we do just makes the next one much more precise. It is amazing that things like temperature and humidity can affect the laser and therefore your results, so of course we want to take those into account to ensure you get the best vision you can!
Surgeons Who Give Back to the Community
Dr. Hammond and Dr. Herion both volunteer their time by being on the trauma call cycle for the Greater Phoenix Area. This means, when your kid is out on the playground and gets woodchips in his eye, Dr. Hammond or Dr. Herion are the ones on call to treat your son when you take him into the ER.
Both doctors live locally, just a short 25-minute drive from our office here in Mesa. They are a part of this community and are eye doctors and surgeons not because they want to go where the most money is, like contract, fly-in doctors. Instead, they are eye doctors because they want to improve the lives of their neighbors.
The Patient’s Choice
Have you been to a doctor’s office, and they tell you what you have and how to treat it and that’s it? Yeah, we don’t do that. We could sit here and sell all day long, but it would go against who we are as an office. Instead, we feel our role is to educate you on your eyes, what the condition you have means and its ins and outs, and the variety of treatment options available to you.
Considering LASIK? Wonderful, let us explain to you what LASIK is, what it corrects, and what other vision correction procedures are available to you. Hint: LASIK isn’t the only vision correction procedure! We’ve six different options for you to choose from. Our surgeons will make a recommendation for a customized plan for your specific needs. We’ll talk with you about what your goal is, and if it is realistic for your specific biology. We’ll help you understand all the ins and outs so that you’re making an informed, educated decision in tandem with the doctor’s recommendations about what is best for YOU.
Staff Who CARE
Just as we believe our patients matter, so too does our staff. Dr. Hammond and Dr. Herion focus on hiring like-minded people who share in their desire to serve the community and enjoy the journey. To this end, we try to hire people who are friendly and genuinely excited to see you. Employees who also want to remove themselves from the corporate numbers game and instead treat people with respect and encouragement. We expect our staff to live up to our why statement every day: We personalize service through collaboration, so that everyone feels empowered and valued. Mind you, this is a why statement that the entire staff got together to form, it isn’t just from our patient-focused doctors. To us, it means that we’ll work together with our peers and our patients to make an office designed around and for you, the patient.
Ok, but what’s the point? Look, we think all of the above should be STANDARD care in the medical field. So much so, we’ve all staked our careers on this project called Carrot LASIK & Eye Center. A Center filled with people who understand, care, and will work every day at making the world a better place. A center that isn’t a robotic chain churning you out and discarding you after we’re done with you; a center focused around two doctors who had a dream to improve the quality of life of the patients under their care.
We hope we’ve succeeded on that front, but we also need your help, too, to change the medical environment to one that remembers we’re all human and we’re all just trying to make the best of this life hurtling through a rock in the vastness of space. If you would like to join us on this journey of empathy, please consider scheduling an appointment with us to see for yourself if we’re doing it right, to give us feedback on how to better serve our community, and to fight back against the tide of indifference flooding the medical environment. Help us re-standardize ophthalmic care in the Valley.