Article Date: 3/1/2009

Technology: Time For The Big Picture
tech time

Technology: Time For The Big Picture

Our new column aims to educate and motivate you to take the next step.

SCOT MORRIS, O.D., F.A.A.O.

Welcome to Optometric Management's new column, "Tech Time," which focuses exclusively on technology for your optometric practice. Please join us every month, as we explore various technologies and their affect on society, out profession and practices.

Technology evolution

Without question, technology poses both great risks and rewards for our profession. We could even argue that the technology of the next decade could have a greater impact on optometry than diagnostic or therapeutic privileges have.

Within the last decade, technology has already changed the way we examine the retina, the optic nerve and the cornea in the form of digital photography, scanning laser ophthalmoscopes and topography respectively. Electronic health records (EHR) are shaping the way we "see" patients and are beginning to change the operational workflow of human resources, marketing and finance.

And, we are just in the infancy of technological innovation in health care. In the first half of the next decade, considerable healthcare modernization will occur coupled with mandates to adapt these new technologies. To compete in this new healthcare world, no one "silver bullet" exists. Acquisition, implementation, integration and utilization of multiple technologies won't only be necessary but essential to the survival of optometry and our practices.

Column goal

Our goal for this column: to make you aware of the technological innovations that will affect you in the near future and motivate you to take the next step in advance of the changes. Our plan:

Examine the state of EHR. We will start the series by looking at where EHR is in optometry and where it's going.

Examine EHR's place in value-driven medicine.

Explore EHR's impact on the evidence-based medicine movement and its' likely effects on our world.

Investigate how to acquire, implement and utilize the various forms of technology available to the optometric profession. We'll discuss concepts, such as document management, web maximization, database dilemmas, network nuances and practice management software advances, as well as problems that plague our profession as we know it.

Technological challenges

Technology will continue to change the way we practice and operate our businesses in private practice, corporate and advanced care settings. Undoubtedly, you'll be faced with competitive challenges from both the government and your peers who've adapted to the information age. Are you ready?

The continued existence of the optometric practice depends on how well you run your business and how efficiently and effectively you manage various components of your patient's experience. Ultimately, these tools will be the foundation for evidence-based medicine in the next few years.

Be educated, be aware, make the right choices, and thrive in the world of today and tomorrow. And make this column work for you: Send us your technology-related comments and questions.

Visit us next month, as we start our journey into the technological advancements that will transform our profession. OM


DR. MORRIS IS DIRECTOR OF EYE CONSULTANTS OF COLORADO AND MORRIS EDUCATION & CONSULTING ASSOCIATES BOTH IN CONIFER, COLO. HE'S A MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION AND A FELLOW OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPTOMETRY. E-MAIL HIM AT SMORRIS@EYECONSULTANTSOFCO.COM.

Optometric Management, Issue: March 2009