Article Date: 3/1/2005

instrumental strategies
Picture This

This software provides an opportunity to take a different approach to educating patients.
JOHN WARREN, O.D.

While every optometrist has his own way to describe ocular health conditions, refractive errors and vision correction options to patients, we're all talking about the same things. Frequently, we need some help to make our explanations clear to patients. For years I've used hand-drawn sketches to illustrate individual patient's conditions, anatomical findings and how best to deal with them -- that is, until I saw Ocutouch software at the Wisconsin Optometric Association's annual convention in September 2004. Within 15 minutes of visiting the booth, I had bought two licenses for the software and was planning how best to put it to work in my practice.

The Ocutouch technology can be used to describe pathologies or for explanations of refractive error and vision correction.

Integrating the software

To use the Ocutouch, I have added a second Tablet PC to my practice technology stable exclusively for patient education. With the software, I can either show patients schematic drawings to describe their individual condition or I can show them three- to five-minute animated movies about their condition. I tend to use this technology more for patients who have ocular pathology than for refractive error and vision correction explanations due to space constraints, but that will change when I move into my new office this spring. There, I intend to run Ocutouch in the dispensary and waiting room with eight to 10 different presentations, including ones on refractive errors and common ocular pathologies, running in a loop.

For now, however, I usually select the movie or presentation that I want the patient to view, hand him the tablet PC and leave the room so that he can view the entire presentation. While the patient (and frequently his family) views the presentation, I'm free to see another patient. With a small, light Tablet PC, the patient can adjust the viewing angle and working distance to maximize his viewing comfort.

Once the presentation ends, the patient leaves the exam room and hands the Tablet PC to a staff member, who then assists that patient with any other tasks until I see him again, either for further examination or to answer any questions that the patient may have. They've all been very impressed with the educational experience. Another advantage the Ocutouch offers is that I can move the whole system from room to room, charging the PC over the lunch hour or during longer breaks between patients.

I rarely have to demonstrate to patients or educate them about a condition that the Ocutouch doesn't include. For those that I have come across, such as orthokeratology, the developers of Ocutouch have been willing to hear feedback about the product and potential enhancements.

Impressions

The illustrations are simply awesome, which is no surprise when you learn that the person who created them, Stephen Gordon, is a world-renowned anatomical/medical illustrator who has a special interest in ophthalmic illustrations.

Since introducing the Ocutouch in my practice, I find that I do a better job teaching my patients -- and that's really what the title of doctor says anyway: teacher. Additionally, my patients appreciate the experience and are impressed with the technology.

DR. WARREN IS IN PRIVATE PRACTICE IN RACINE, WIS. CONTACT HIM BY E-MAIL AT JWARRENOD@TDS.NET.

 


Optometric Management, Issue: March 2005