Article Date: 7/1/2003

The Real Problem With Computers
How should we express our perceptions of computers? Objectively, of course.

Right now I'm staring at a computer screen. This usually means two things. One, I'm attempting to to write this month's column (in which I'll discuss information technology). And two, according to computer vision experts, my blink rate is down 66%.

What computers don't do

With all the advances in technology, my computer should write this column for me. (To be fair, your computer should read this column for you.) All too often, however, our computers don't do what we want them to do.

According to a recent issue of Businessweek, this is the case with the typical buyer, who complains that computer software doesn't meet expectations. Software is also too expensive and too complex, the article adds. These points have kept buyers on the sidelines when it comes time to make purchases in information technology. Are these legitimate points for optometrists to consider for their own practices?

I would answer "no." Software complaints don't address the real issue: What are the investment opportunities in information technology that would produce real dividends in your practice? Would these investments provide your patients with a better level of care? Would they improve staff efficiency and morale? Would they offer your practice greater profitability?

Search for the answers

The answers don't come easily or immediately. In the feature that begins on page 34, James K. Kirchner, O.D., tells us that his practice converted to a totally paperless office. It took six weeks of planning and another six months of implementation, but the end result, says Dr. Kirchner, is that his practice now offers "unparalleled eyecare services."

To get an idea of the scope of what functions can be automated, I'd recommend you examine the sidebar to Dr. Kirchner's feature on page 36. Even if a paperless office is light years away for your practice, the list in this sidebar is essential reading.

A winning column

Speaking of must-read editorial, readers of OM have told us how much they enjoy the column "View from the Top" by Gary Gerber, O.D. Recently, Dr. Gerber received additional accolades as the American Society of Business Press Editors named his column as the "Best Regular Column, Contributed" in the ASBPE's regional awards competition.

The latest installment of this thought-provoking column appears on page 18.


Optometric Management, Issue: July 2003