Article Date: 9/1/2003

instrumental strategies
The Future of Patient Education
Simple software can make a big impression in your practice.
MICHAEL CYMBOR, O.D.

I first viewed the eyeMaginationS software (from eyeMaginationS Inc.) at the American Optometric Association meeting in 2001. Scores of people were crowded around a booth watching eyecare-related animations on a projection screen. These animations more closely resembled the latest video game rather than the future of ophthalmic patient education. I practically had to push colleagues out of the way to get a look. The amazement that I felt that moment is repeated in my patients every day. I'll explain why.

Meet our teaching assistant

We purchased eyeMaginationS in 2002 and initially loaded the software onto a laptop and used it as an educational tool for those patients diagnosed with an ocular disease such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration. It reinforced the information that I had previously explained to them.

Then our office became heavily involved with LASIK and we showed the LASIK-related animations to every prospective refractive surgery patient. It not only educated the patient about LASIK specifics, but also created the desirable impression that our office is technologically advanced. It worked so well, we installed it in all three drop-and-holding areas. Our staff loops the animations and plays them with the closed-caption option, allowing patients to view the show while waiting for dilation to occur or for a contact lens to settle without the audio disturbing others in the office.


eyeMaginationS impresses patients with eyecare-related animations.

Spice up your Web site

But we didn't fully tap the potential of the eyeMaginationS technology until January 2003, when we put the animations on our own Web site. Now all the patients who have home Internet access could view the animations in the comfort of their own home. To facilitate this, we created simple instructions for the patient. We included a list of topics and we circle those that are relevant to each particular patient.

Now when I diagnose a patient with primary open-angle glaucoma and educate him on the condition, I instruct him to access our Web site for further information and hand him an instruction card. Patients are doing more Internet medical research than ever -- what better site for accessing eyecare information than your own! This also ties in nicely with our goal of increasing Web site traffic -- in fact, since adding eyeMaginationS, we've seen a 75% increase.

Additions make it even better

One of the latest additions to eyeMaginationS is the contact lens module. It covers all aspects of contact lens care including handling, insertion and removal. There are even animations on corneal refractive therapy (CRT).

An optical presentations module helps with the sale of premium lenses and add ons. With the touch of a button, our staff can use an animation to explain why a high-index lens needs anti-reflective coating or how polarized lenses reflect light away from the back of the eye. The reporting capabilities enable us to track how many times an optical animation is played. One of my partners remarked that the optical module is one of the best patient education systems he's seen.

The bottom line is that this product allows me to educate my patients more effectively in a high-tech manner that distinguishes our practice.

DR. CYMBOR IS IN GROUP PRACTICE WITH NITTANY EYE ASSOCIATES IN STATE COLLEGE, PA AND IS A PAST A.O.A. "YOUNG O.D. OF THE YEAR". CONTACT HIM AT MCYMBOR@NITTANYEYE.COM.

 



Optometric Management, Issue: September 2003