Article Date: 11/1/2012

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS
technology focus

Fast Forward to Patient Education

Video software leads to shorter patient visits, increased sales.

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PAUL KARPECKI, O.D.

In today’s environment, we find it imperative to have an effective and efficient patient education system in place at our practice. This is the only way we can keep our patients informed of their ocular health and the treatment options available to them, while simultaneously keeping an intense schedule of 30-to-40 patients per day.

Juxtaposed with all the new technology in the field of eyecare, from tools used for diagnosis to devices that improve patient vision and quality of life, is a patient trend towards autonomy. Patients are looking to the Internet and other sources to improve their understanding of their health, and they want to be able to make educated decisions.

Eyemaginations’ LUMA patient education platform allows us to do just that. We show our patients animated, interactive videos that explain topics such as the anatomy of the eye, disease pathology, treatment options and postoperative care, which has cut down our average time per patient visit.

Overview

The LUMA software is a Microsoft Windows program that can be used on a PC or through a television that is connected to a PC. The ability to select videos is also available through iPad applications, which are free with a LUMA license.

Patients are exposed to these videos from multiple platforms in our office. They are shown on a television in the reception room, we use them to educate our patients individually while in the exam lane, we e-mail our patients applicable videos after their office visits, and we have these videos available on our website. The software can even be set up to automatically run the video clips, which run roughly between 20 seconds-to-three minutes. Video updates are also provided roughly once per quarter with update notifications appearing within the software when it’s available.

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Eyemaginations’ LUMA software can be set up to automatically show video clips, which run roughly 20 seconds-to-three minutes.

In terms of training, Eyemaginations provides a dedicated training manager who can teach office members on how to use the software. This is very convenient, as it allows anyone in the office to run the LUMA software. The company also offers a customer care center on its website that contains training materials, live webinars and product resources.

Application

An example of the LUMA software’s usefulness is with my dry eye clinic. Previously, dry eye patients could easily occupy 45 minutes to an hour of my time when you consider all the testing and explaining to be done, and specific doctor time was often 12 to 15 minutes per patient.

Our first step was to try and schedule these patients all on the same day so that we could show targeted videos in our waiting room. The interactive videos in the exam lane explained tear osmolarity testing, the importance of a healthy ocular surface and the mechanisms involved in maintaining a healthy tear film.

With each patient, I can click on the lower eyelid in the video and magnify the glands, for example, explaining meibomian gland dysfunction and what I’m going to try to express from the lids. As most people are visual learners, the 3-D animations are a wonderful teaching tool, and patients appreciate the high-tech nature of the videos.

Return on investment

I feel these educational videos have gone a long way towards allowing me to cut my time with each patient by roughly four-to-six minutes. This is actually a very large number as it translates to seeing about 35% to 40% more patients through the course of a day.

In my clinic, I was able to increase my patient volume by about 36% to increase my revenue, and it also allowed me the option to save two hours each day if I decided to see the same number of patients and have more personal time. I decided to see more patients in the day then cut back days in the clinic, which has been great for my clinic, my family and my career.

What is even more impressive is that patients do not get the feeling that I spend less time with them, and they also leave my office having a better understanding of their conditions.

We have seen similar positive results in various technologies ranging from daily disposable and specialty contact lenses to premium intraocular lenses (IOLs). We have interactive, animated videos on both of these topics that we show our patients. Since we started showing the videos, our sales of specialty contact lenses have doubled, and approximately 60% of patients eligible for premium IOLs now choose this out-of-pocket option. That is significantly higher than the 14% national average, according to a 2011 Market Scope Quarterly Survey of U.S. Cataract Surgeons.

We can offer our patients better solutions to their optical needs than ever before. However, they must be properly educated before they will accept them or appreciate our efforts.

High-quality, technologically advanced, interactive media has been a great solution to educating our patients and saving time in the clinic. OM



Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: November 2012, page(s): 64 65