Article Date: 1/1/2001

Fix This Practice
Income Producers
Let your instruments work for you and earn their keep.
By Richard Kattouf, O.D.

Q Dr. Kattouf, I've heard doctors comment on your philosophy of making instrumentation profitable for an optometric or ophthalmological practice. Could you expand on this subject?

---Dr. A.J. Kreger, via e-mail

A Great question, A.J.!  Prior to investing in any equipment, make sure it meets the following criteria:

If you answer yes to all of these, then the purchase is a great idea. Let's discuss a few pieces of equipment and their benefits. Note: With all equipment, make sure you script and educate patients even though you aren't performing the tests. Also, place unique equipment in high traffic areas for better visibility.

Corneal thickness measurements

More O.D.s are performing corneal thickness measurements. The results are critical for pre-op refractive surgery, but you can also use pachymetry during a glaucoma work-up and get reimbursement from major medical. Manufacturers include DGH Technology Inc., Paradigm Medical Industries, Inc. and Tomey Corporation, pending FDA approval.


A-Scans measure the axial length of the eye and calculate the intraocular implement. All optometric practices should perform this diagnostic procedure. A-Scans are also fully reimbursable by medical insurance companies. DGH Technologies, Inc. and Paradigm Medical Industries, Inc. also manufacture A-Scans.

A lazy susan for the O.D.

Reliance's Pendulum is a unique platform that's part of your instrument stand and replaces the old individual arms. It enables you to place multiple instruments on one stand and have them at your fingertips.

Once the patient is aligned in one chin rest, they're in proper position for all other instruments. The Pendulum is space-friendly and is a tremendous time-saver.

Do you see what I see?

When your biomicroscope has video capability, the observer sees everything you're doing in living color. Remember to script the observer and the patient. This better conveys your abilities as a doctor to patients.

With Haag Streit's set up, you can mount a television monitor to a swivel base so that you can play a VCR tape of your patient's condition for him. Most manufacturers of biomicroscopes offer video capabilities. Other manufacturers sell adapters and video cameras for existing biomicroscopes. For more options, see "What's New in the Lane" (August 2000 issue of Optometric Management).

Marketing with instruments

We can use all of these instruments as public relations tools. They add sizzle to the steak! If you want your patients' experiences in your office to be that of preventive eye health maintenance, invest in these instruments and adopt the proper internal marketing strategies.

Each instrument is income-producing either by insurance reimbursement or by its efficiency through high levels of delegation.

There's no question that the above equipment improves the level of medical care. As O.D.s, we're in a very competitive market. Pulling your head in like a turtle and not investing back into your practice makes you part of the crowd. Push out and make things happen to assure greater practice growth.

Dr. Kattouf is in private practice in Warren, Ohio, and he's president and founder of two management and consulting companies. If you'd like him to address an issue you have with your practice, call (800) 745-EYES or e-mail

Optometric Management, Issue: January 2001