Article Date: 4/1/2009

Streamline Your Practice
instrumental strategies

Streamline Your Practice

Exam device may increase your practice revenue.

BARRY BASDEN, O.D.

William Penn, 17th century writer, politician and founder of Pennsylvania, once said: "Time is what we want most, but … what we use worst." I believe this quote rings true for every practitioner. We all want more time to increase practice revenue, yet we're not able to use our practice time efficiently enough to achieve this goal.

The good news: Technology is now available to enable you to streamline your practice.

All-in-one access

UltraVision, from Woodlyn, Inc., is a digital visual acuity tester which also acts as an access point for all your exam data (i.e. topography, visual fields testing, fundus camera and slit lamp camera photos, etc.), including your electronic medical record (EMR) software, through two different formats.

The UltraVision Imaging-Station is an integration module specifically designed for the exam lane to enable digital slit lamp photography from any room, wirelessly.

The UltraVision Tablet PC is an ultra-portable device that allows you to obtain this data through a wireless connection, while at your practice and when off-site.

The system increases your practice's efficiency by giving you access to your records when and where you need them. Further, if one of my colleagues or I need to be home or away from the office for any reason and we want to review a patient's exam data, we can easily pull it up regardless of where we're located.

We have used the UltraVision system to essentially network our two locations. Not only do we have the capability to transmit EMR data between both offices in real time, it has also allowed us to become more productive with our exams.

UltraVision is a digital visual acuity tester, which also acts as an access point for all your exam data.

We can view our digital retinal photos instantly between both practices. When I make notes on an exam, they stay with that patient's records to be accessed anywhere.

We begin the eye exam by using the UltraVision to test visual acuity. The patient is then taken into one of our special testing rooms for retinal photography. The resulting data is automatically sent to the database and linked with my EMR. When the pre-testing portion of the exam is completed, I enter whichever exam room the patient is located, obtain the patient's refraction and perform the slit lamp and external eye exam. I can use UltraVision's Imaging Station to view a live video of the slit and to take a photo if needed.

Before leaving the patient, the technicians would have pulled up the retinal photos on the UltraVision's touch-screen panel so that after the fundus evaluation, it's ready for me to review with my patient. I then show the patient his pathology, the state of his pathology, and the reason for my management protocol. If I feel any additional testing is warranted, such as HRT or a visual field exam, I complete those tasks. All this data becomes accessible via both the UltraVision touch-screen panel and the tablet PC.

Practice/patient advantages

Before we incorporated the UltraVision system into our practice, a thumb drive was used to obtain exam data from each instrument and then plugged into a desktop computer located in each individual exam room. This was necessary in order to access data and import it into the EMR. We had to constantly switch software systems on our desktop computers to obtain the exam data.

To assess just how much faster we became as a result of the Ultra- Vision system, we conducted an in-house study. Specifically, we compared exam time between two similarly high-traffic months and discovered that during the month we employed the system, practice efficiency increased by 32%. This increase allowed us to schedule more patients and become more profitable.

Aside from increasing efficiency, we also wanted to send patients the message that we're on the cutting edge of technology. The UltraVision system enabled us to do this, as patients tell us how amazing it is to actually see what their eye looks like and how seeing, and not just hearing about their condition, has enabled them to better understand it. We now spend much less time creating a mental picture for patients about their condition. We've also found that when patients can actually see what we're talking about, it typically makes them more adherent to their medications and follow-up visits. OM


DR. BASDEN OWNS AND OPERATES TWO PRACTICES. ONE IS LOCATED IN FLORENCE, ALA, AND THE OTHER ONE IS LOCATED IN TUSCUMBIA, ALA. DR. BASDEN IS A MEMBER OF VISION SOURCE. HE HAS TWO ASSOCIATES: BENJAMIN W. KACHELMAN, O.D. AND KATHRYN A. HOWARD, O.D. BOTH ASSOCIATES ALSO USE AND RECOMMEND THE ULTRA VISION SYSTEM. E-MAIL DR. BASDEN AT DRBRBAS DEN@COMCAST.NET.

Optometric Management, Issue: April 2009