Article Date: 9/1/2012

instrument focus
instrument focus

Digital Diagnosis

Electronic refraction system provides convenience, flexibility.

Jason Maclaughlin, O.D.

Imagine performing a refraction with the ability to upload a prescription at the touch of a button rather than having to manually dial it. Such is the case with the Auto Phoroptor RS, by Reichert Technologies. The auto lensometer and auto refractor communicate with the Phoroptor, and data is easily transferred to my practice's electronic health records (EHR) system. This technology has reduced the chance for transcription errors and produced other benefits, which I discuss here.

Overview

Reichert's Auto Phoroptor RS is a refraction system that offers all the flexibility and accuracy of a manual Phoroptor with the ability to integrate it electronically with your practice.

Refractions are performed from a portable controller box with an 8-inch viewable color screen. Instead of manually changing the dials on the Phoroptor, the dials are electronically controlled from the computer screen. I have found this method has helped to cut down on arm fatigue since I no longer have to keep my arms up to control the dials manually.

Additionally, having electronic controls has made my prescriptions more accurate, and I have been doing less prescription checks in my office since installing the Auto Phoroptor RS last September. I have found this especially beneficial for high cylinder or high astigmatic patients, as the device enables one to fine-tune the prescription by 1° increments, which would be very hard to do with a manual dial.

Since the system is electronic, I have integrated it with my practice's EHR system. Now, when a patient is in my chair, I can pull up previous prescriptions and have all that information on the screen. I can even show patients what their last prescription was so they can compare it to their new prescription. I have found this helps in educating patients on the importance of routine eye exams.

Refractions are performed from a portable controller box with an 8-inch viewable color screen.

I have also found the EHR integration to be a benefit by cutting down on human error. Specifically, rather than writing down refraction results into a paper chart or typing them into the computer manually, all the information is automatically sent to the patient's record.

Procedure

The Auto Phoroptor RS has the same set-up as a standard Phoroptor, however, there are no manual dials, as everything is controlled through the controller box.

The refraction process is started by positioning the patient in front of the instrument, which has a forehead rest to help ensure the patient's face is not placed too close to the machine. To ensure the patient is aligned to the Phoroptor properly, the practitioner needs to adjust a knob on the front of the Phoroptor that allows for vertical alignment and adjust the PD mono or binocularly on the controller panel. There is also a level on the front of the Phoroptor to guide you (as there is on a standard Phoroptor). The pupillary distance is adjustable on the display unit to help center the patient's pupils in the oculars.

Training

I have the benefit of Reichert being located near my practice, so I've traveled off-site to attend a training session with a Reichert representative and an optometrist who was already using the Auto Phoroptor RS in his practice. The training took about an hour, and afterward, I was comfortable enough to go back to my practice and successfully teach my staff how to use the machine.

For those who don't have this convenience, Reichert provides onsite training from authorized Reichert distributors and/or Reichert representatives. If I had any questions or had forgotten how to use different parts of the machine, Reichert's representative was quick to return my phone calls. And I also had a “Quick Reference” card to which I could refer.

Return on investment

For pricing information, contact your Reichert distributor as this will vary. This machine has helped the bottom line of my practice, as I am able to provide prescriptions to patients more quickly and accurately than with the manual Phoroptor I was using before.

This Phoroptor would work well for a high-volume practice that needs to see three patients an hour on average because of the time saved that would have been spent transcribing. I also like that you can seamlessly compare an old and new prescription with one button.

The Auto Phoroptor RS has also helped the bottom line of my dispensary. Due to the accuracy of the controls, I am able to prescribe corrective lenses for patients that previously were on the borderline when using manual dials. And by being able to quickly show patients the difference between their prescriptions before and now, that helps educate them that they need correction for their vision.

Ease-of-use of the device helps with accuracy, which could save hundreds to thousands of dollars a week as it avoids errors that usually lead to prescription checks and remaking the glasses. As with all computers and new devices, there was a slight adjustment period to get to that comfort level where mistakes were rare or non-existent. Still, our patient schedule remained the same while transitioning to the new Phoroptor and was not a problem.

I'm very pleased with my decision to use the Auto Phoroptor RS, and I highly recommend it to others. OM

DR. MCLAUGHLIN HAS BEEN AFFILIATED WITH FICHTE EYE ASSOCIATES IN BUFFALO, N.Y., SINCE 2003, INVOLVED IN THE CARE OF REFRACTIVE PATIENTS, THE TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF OCULAR DISEASE, FAMILY EYECARE AND CONTACT LENSES. SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.


Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: September 2012, page(s): 73 79