Article Date: 9/1/2007

Introducing Wavefront Dispensing to Your Practice

Introducing Wavefront Dispensing to Your Practice

Learn these practical tips from those who have succeeded.

Dr. Karpecki: We've talked about the iZon lens technology, which significantly improves our ability to meet our patients' visual needs with spectacles. Now let's discuss how optometrists can introduce wavefront dispensing to their practices and patients.

Building staff loyalty

Dr. Quon: One reason this new technology will be accepted is because technicians can use the instrument easily. My technicians perform a Z-View exam on all patients to expose them to the technology and to differentiate ourselves from other practices. The Z-View exam produces an iPrint containing all second to sixth order measurements that the technicians print out for me immediately so I can review them with patients. The staff is impressed when the Z-View shows any existing pathology, such as cataracts.

Dr. Lowe: We educated our staff about the iZon technology over a lunch meeting. Representatives from the company trained everyone in less than 90 minutes, although they'd spend more time if we needed it. Usually, employees complain that we're offloading work when we try something new. But they embrace newer technologies such as this because they become empowered, and they gain more respect with patients.

Robert C. Layman, O.D.: We've taken an all-encompassing, practice-wide approach to introducing the technology by prescribing iZon lenses for every staff member, including three emmetropes who were amazed by the improvement in their vision.

Dr. Lowe: We had a staff member whose correction was –4.00D, with 1.50D of cylinder in each eye. She always wore contact lenses — even though they bothered her eyes — because her vision with them was so much better than when she wore spectacles. However, since she's been fitted with the iZon lenses, she won't take off her spectacles — even when she's exercising. When she perspires, her iZon lenses don't fog up like her old AR-coated lenses. The irony of her situation illustrates the impact of this technology. Instead of the spectacles-wearer switching to contact lenses to benefit from superior vision, my employee made the opposite transition.

I dial the prescription into the phoropter so patients can see the cylinder and the sphere. But I explain that their iZon lenses address the vision problems caused by aberrations.
Jacqueline Campisi, O.D.

Improving quality of life

Dr. Layman: Our message to consumers is that we introduce only new, patient-centered technology to our practice, which makes us the most advanced in terms of meeting visual needs. If the technology is not in our patients' best interest, we won't introduce it. Providing the best spectacle correction available, to me, is a quality-of-life issue. As practitioners, sometimes we don't realize how much our patients' lives are hindered because of easily corrected visual disabilities. For example, patients may be missing church meetings or social events because it's dark and rainy. If we can improve their quality of life with iZon lenses, we can change their lives dramatically and build incredible patient loyalty.

Dr. Campisi: These lenses also are ideal for computer vision syndrome, which is widely underdiagnosed in children. I don't know of any child who walks into my office who doesn't use the computer for up to 12 hours a day — in the classroom, on their Gameboys and at home. Children are perfect candidates for these lenses because large pupils are associated with increased higher-order aberrations. If only these lenses were available in polycarbonate.

The iPrint measured by the Z-View Aberrometer. An iPrint is as unique to each patient as their fingerprints. Once an iPrint is obtained, it's factored into the patient's unique prescription.

Dr. Quon: One of my patients is so meticulous that he has a different pair of eyeglasses just for computer use in addition to his general-purpose progressives. He said the iZon lenses were the first general-purpose progressives he could use without having to reach for occupational progressives. He was astonished.

Doctor's role

Dr. Karpecki: Before you achieve these results with patients, you need to make them aware of the new technology and explain how it works. How do you do this?

Dr. Lowe: Our staff begins the educational process by discussing the role of wavefront diagnostics in producing an optimal prescription.

Dr. Layman: I compare the wavefront findings with the refraction to show patients the difference between the two and to demonstrate the precision of the wavefront instrument. When I pull the refractor away, I point to the cylinder line on the refractor and say, "All of my career, I've been checking prescriptions in two axes — the white one goes this way and the other one goes 90° away from that.

"That was the best I could do because that was the only way we could grind lenses. Your iPrint is much more specific and accurate, and here's why: See all these different irregular areas that need correction? These lenses, which are unique to each of your eyes, address the vision problems associated with these irregularities."

Depending on the extent of my patients' higher-order aberrations, I tell them we can achieve 10% to 15% better vision. The simpler I keep the message, the more effectively I can communicate it.

We've taken an all-encompassing, practice-wide approach to introducing the technology by prescribing iZon lenses for every staff member.
Robert C. Layman, O.D.

Dr. Campisi: I dial the prescription into the phoropter so patients can see the cylinder and the sphere. But I explain that their iZon lenses address the vision problems caused by aberrations, which are measured in 12,600 (6 mm pupil) points per eye. This will give them a customized lens based upon their unique iPrint. "If you think the quarter diopter change I just made is significant," I explain, "wait until you see an optimized lens."

Our staff begins the educational process by discussing the role of wavefront diagnostics in producing an optimal prescription.
Pamela A. Lowe, O.D.

Plus, I tell them I'm seeking binocular balance. I show them three rows of letters on the eye chart. These are viewed through polarized lenses in the phoropter. Patients see the top row with the right eye and the bottom row with the left eye. When they report that the top row looks like the bottom row, but the contrast sensitivity is off, I hold up their results. Then I say, "You have more aberrations in that eye than the other one. That's why the top row looks worse than the bottom row, even though the prescriptions are exactly what they should be." Right away, they understand the effect of higher-order aberrations on their vision, and they're in a perfect position to purchase the lenses.

Getting the word out

Dr. Campisi: It's also helpful to educate people in various industries in your community about the technology. My practice is near a large company, with many employees. A woman from that company became the first person in New England to wear iZon lenses. Our local TV news team interviewed her, and she talked about how the lenses gave her "surround vision." We play that video repeatedly on our Eyemaginations software, which runs continuously in various locations in our office. You can watch this interview on my Web site at drcampisi.optometry.net when you click on the iZon logo on the home page.

As a result, we've grown by 50 new patients a month. We're attracting people who live hours away from our practice because they want to know more about the lenses from the news program.

Dr. Lowe: A local colleague of mine also participated in a television report in Chicago. He was interviewed while performing a wavefront analysis on a patient. Within a few days, we received 20 phone calls. From those inquiries, 10 people made appointments as new patients. With high definition TV in vogue, and with everyone wanting to see things more clearly, people are responding to this technology.

Dr. Layman: We also market iZon lenses in our community. On izonlens.com, we're listed as one of the many practices that offer the technology. All consumers have to do in my area is type in their ZIP code, and the name, address and directions to my practice pop up. In addition, we publish information about iZon lenses in our promotional materials for new patients. I also convinced a local newspaper to write an article about my practice offering the new technology.

Dr. Karpecki: Are there other ways that you can position this technology to benefit your practice?

Dr. Campisi: We are so confident patients will react positively to the lenses that we dispense them in a colorful room. When patients put the lenses on, people in the waiting room can hear their exclamations. It's gotten to the point where I excuse myself from an exam, saying, "Oh, someone's picking up their iZons. I have to go to the dispensing room and hear their first reaction." The patients who are waiting for me in the exam room hear the excitement and naturally want to know what these lenses are all about. It's amazing.

A DRAW FOR PATIENTS
Many of us have bought the GDx nerve fiber layer analyzer or the optical coherence tomographer (OCT), believing that these instruments were worth having in our practices. But this equipment doesn't drive patients to our door. I've never had anyone show up in my office saying, "I've got to have a GDx scan today!" However, I've had patients come in saying, "Gee, I've heard about this wavefront technology, and I really want to know more about it."
The iZon technology is more intriguing to patients. Instead of driving them away because of price, it has them lining up at your office waiting to take their turn.
Jacqueline Campisi, O.D.

Increasing profitability

Dr. Karpecki: What are the financial implications of introducing iZon lenses to your practice?

Patient's often ask, "How much do [iZon lenses] cost?" Instead of answering them directly, I always explain that … they'll spend $100 more for single-vision lenses.
Jacqueline Campisi, O.D.

Dr. Quon: Using this technology is one way to offset the lower margins from third-party insurance programs. With the iZon technology, we're not required to use third-party, insurance-contracted laboratories and lenses, nor are we restricted to accepting only the insurance company's dispensing service fees as the only profit in providing eyeglasses. We can make a greater profit offering iZon lenses than the standard lenses allowed by vision insurance companies.

Dr. Lowe: We don't have to worry about selling any add-ons because this technology sells itself. And, of course, it boosts profitability. My staff is thrilled when a patient chooses iZon lenses because they are thin and lightweight and already have an excellent AR coating and edge design to enhance any frame.

Dr. Campisi: Patients often ask, "How much do the lenses cost?" Instead of answering them directly, I always explain that, because of the technology, they'll spend about $100 more for single-vision lenses and about $200 more for progressive addition lenses. Then I show this breakdown by comparing the 1.6 index with AR coating, UV and scratch resistance coats to the iZon product, which includes these along with a hydrophobic coating and the iPrint. Once you explain that they won't be charged extra for all of these add-ons, they really appreciate the iZon value.

Dr. Layman: In our office, opticians describe the iZon as the "fully-loaded lens" that offers every feature that can optimize vision quality. If price-conscious patients don't choose iZon lenses, they're more likely to choose what has been traditionally a premium lens to maintain their high visual standards. And this ultimately helps boost profitability.

Dr. Campisi: Patients who choose premium lenses also help you increase frame sales. Patients are more inclined to put high-end lenses into high-end frames.

Bottom line

Dr. Gindoff: I think that our opticians would say the same holds true in our practice. Consequently, the per-unit sales probably are much higher than they once were for price-conscious patients.

Dr. Karpecki: So it sounds like this allows you to improve your practice's profile, in terms of the type of clientele and patients you attract.

Dr. Layman: That's true. I would imagine that everyone here who has the new technology has seen an increase in per-patient revenue.

Dr. Karpecki: And with the increase in revenue comes so many other benefits, such as an increase in word-of-mouth referrals, higher patient retention and improved patient flow.

When deciding whether to adopt this technology, a doctor must consider the bottom line. I saw one presentation that suggested the average doctor completes 20 refractions per day. If you add one more refraction, and your per-patient revenue from that encounter increases because of the sale of iZon lenses and a new set of frames, you'd net an additional $129,000 in revenue per year.

With the increase in revenue comes so many other benefits, such as an increase in word-of-mouth referrals, higher patient retention and improved patient flow.
Paul M. Karpecki, O.D.

So you won't just retain patients. You'll improve public perception of your practice and increase efficiency while differentiating yourself. And you'll earn a lot more on the balance sheet. OM



Optometric Management, Issue: September 2007