Article Date: 2/1/2006

instrumental strategies
A Winning Combination
This fundus camera and imaging system could be your "MVP."
DAVID G. KIRSCHEN, O.D., PH.D.

Over the past two decades, my practice has included being team doctor to several major league baseball clubs. But if I was awarding a Most Valuable Player trophy, it would go to my Kowa Non-Myd a-D Fundus Camera and VK-2 Digital Imaging System. The system has saved me time, saved my office money, and helped me save the vision of four patients. If that doesn't qualify for "Most Valuable," what does?

Kowa's two-part system is easy and efficient.

Take it to a higher league

The system offers high-resolution imaging and a user-friendly interface. It excels in a networked healthcare practice by providing legal documentation of retinal health, and readily integrates with EMR software that allows the doctor to follow pathology changes over time.

It is also an excellent tool for patient education. I can easily call up and compare stored images on my notebook and share the images with the patient. I also need to mention improved patient flow since my staff doesn't wait for dilation on every patient. Equally important, the Kowa system can save me about five minutes per patient, which frees up time for other patients.

The system is clear and accurate. It eliminates cumbersome film tracking and processing. The instant a picture is taken, it's electronically transferred to my server so I can view it on any computer in my office. The user-friendly interface allows all of my staff to use it, as the system takes about 10 minutes (and three patients) to learn to operate. It archives individual patient records in one folder. It's easy to shoot, store, recall and compare data, even in a high-volume practice.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Typical reimbursement rate: $70-$90

Typical reimbursement frequency: As medically necessary, but generally twice yearly with diagnosis

CPT code: 92250

Dimensions: 400mm(W) x 520mm(D) x 740mm (H)

Warranty and service policy: 1 year, all parts and labor

Cost: $24,995

Company contacts: (800) 966-5692, www.kowa-usa.com

Diagnosing: Glaucoma, diabetes, AMD and may be indicated to document abnormalities related to a disease process affecting the eye.

A home run for revenue

From the first day we used this system, we saw a 32% increase in our exam fee per patient. I recommend it to all of my patients and even though it's an additional fee, almost 90% elect to have the imaging done. It's been my experience that patients readily see the benefit of early detection. If we detect something, we can bill Medicare or their insurance carrier. It also makes a great practice builder when it comes to kids, because we give them a copy of the image to share with their classmates.

The league leader in assists

Frankly, I think this system has a place in almost every practice. It's an indispensable diagnostic tool. It helps your practice run more efficiently. And it adds to your bottom line. I think it assists on so many important levels that for digital imaging systems, it is in a league of its own.

DR. KIRSCHEN IS IN PRIVATE PRACTICE. HE ALSO SERVES AS CHIEF OF BINOCULAR VISION AND ORTHOPTIC SERVICES AT THE JULES STEIN EYE INSTITUTE, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT LOS ANGELES.



Optometric Management, Issue: February 2006