CREATING AN EXAM LANE THAT ‘WOWS’

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Forum, an image management software by Carl Zeiss Meditec, allows for easy capture, review, and storage of patient information.

Set your practice apart by investing in the right instrumentation and technology.

The beauty of using instrumentation and high-tech equipment in an eyecare practice is that it increases the accuracy of exams, creates a “Wow experience” for patients, and sets your office apart as a “Distinctive Practice.”

When we look at what is changing in health care it is apparent to everyone—whether you’re in eyecare, primary care, or even hospital care—that it will be difficult to survive without increasing efficiencies. Those that provide excellent care at a faster pace are those that will continue to excel. The good news is that speed and efficiency are easy to accomplish with the right technology.

GATHERING INFORMATION
Efficiency begins when the patient schedules her appointment. At our office, we try to gather as much information on the phone as possible so we are aware of copays and insurance prior to arrival. Once the patient is in the office we utilize “Forum,” an image management software by Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc. to open a patient profile. This allows us to capture and save all images including topography, retinal and anterior segment photos, visual fields, endothelial cell counts, and scanning laser images in one location for easy capture, review, and storage as well as retrieval.

The speed and accuracy of our refractions increased tremendously with the utilization of the Marco OPD 3 wavefront autorefractor/topographer. Wavefront, topography, autorefraction, and lensometry is captured in the pre-testing area and then the data is transferred to a card which is used to populate all of the information directly into the automated Marco TRS 5100 phoropter unit.

The accuracy of the measurements allow for a faster (30-second) refraction and the TRS allows me to show patients the difference between their new refraction, old glasses, or even no glasses (unaided acuities) with the push of a button. There is no more discussion of “how much the prescription changed” because the improvement is easily seen by the patient in the exam room.

After moving the phoropter away from the patient, I then explain how the only way to see as clear as previously demonstrated is with anti-reflective lenses made like those in the machine. For patients with keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, or high astigmatism, the OPD 3 viewing software created and sold by Marco allows me to show why it is so challenging to correct their vision and why specialty contact lenses may be their best option.

An optomap,like Optos’ Daytona,is part of some ECPs’ wellness exam.

MAKING SCREENINGS EASIER
After the refraction is complete, OfficeMate®’s Examwriter EHR software by Eyefinity allows me to transfer all the refractive data I have collected as well as the data collected in pre-testing to the patient record with the simple touch of a button.

This saves the eyecare professional (ECP) at least 50 clicks of the mouse in data entry. In fact, data entry errors are no longer an issue with this efficiency, giving you another leg up on increasing patient satisfaction and decreasing cost of goods.

The minute our optical staff creates the order for the eyewear sale the prescription is automatically populated in OfficeMate because of the direct integration between OfficeMate (the practice management software) and Examwriter (the EHR).

When retinal or anterior segment photography or any other specialty testing is found to be medically necessary, we are able to capture the images within our Forum software.  The patient is then escorted into the exam room to review the results with the ECP. The images are brought up on a large screen monitor (at least a 24-in. display for best viewing) side by side so that instead of clicking between screens to review all the tests, they can be compared on the same screen at the same time.

It is much more efficient to be able to review optic nerve photos for a glaucoma suspect next to the visual field. This not only allows for better patient understanding and compliance, but makes for easier interpretation for the doctor.

For those patients who choose to have a wellness screening, those measurements are obtained prior to seeing the ECP. An optomap is part of some eyecare providers’ wellness exam. The retinal image with Optos’ Daytona is extremely easy for the technician and the patient to capture. The image review process is where the magic happens. When the wellness screenings are completed as well as the usual pre-testing data obtained, the patient is then accompanied by a technician to our exam rooms. The patient chart is opened up within the EHR, the retinal images are opened up within the Forum viewing software, and the doctor is called in the room.

My preference is to review the screening results with the patient before the exam is started. Some patients are nervous about the results and I believe it’s important to review the data first, allowing them to see how impressive the information is, as well as setting their minds at ease. Every patient is impressed with the images of their retina. Prior to this meeting, most don’t understand why an eye exam is so important. Retinal imaging allows me to not only “Wow” them with the beautiful picture of their eye, but also to educate them on the value of their yearly exam.

With the automated Marco TRS 5100 phoropter unit, refractions are completed in 30 seconds.

MOVING FORWARD
As 2014 approaches, ECPs will no doubt be dealing with new challenges as well as opportunities. With proper preparation, the challenges such as decreased reimbursements and increased patient numbers can be faced with a smile and excitement.

Decreased reimbursements mean we either find new ways to generate income or to decrease expenses. Adding patients to our practices means finding new ways to become more efficient. Fortunately, both of these solutions work together. When we have an increased number of patients and become more efficient we will then make fewer mistakes and have more people to move into our new revenue streams.

It is a necessity that we all become highly engaged in learning about upcoming challenges and researching how we can continue to face them without fear.  Prepare now and your practice will not only survive, but thrive.

April Jasper is in private practice at Advanced Eyecare Specialists in West Palm Beach, FL.

WHERE TO FIND IT:

Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc. • 800-342-9821 • meditec.zeiss.com/usa

Eyefinity/OfficeMate • 877-448-0707 • eyefinity.com

Marco, Inc. • 800-874-5274 • marco.com

Optos • 866-OPTOMAP • optos.com

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