RTA is a Technology Triple Threat
Improve care, increase revenue and set your practice apart with the Retinal Thickness Analyzer.
By John Warren, OD, Racine, Wis.
WHEN OPENING A NEW practice or bringing new technology into an existing practice, usually there are three major goals. The first goal is to improve patient care by adding new or improved diagnostic or therapeutic capabilities. The second is to provide new or expanded revenue streams to the practice. The third goal is to differentiate the practice from the competition. In this article, I'll tell you how the Retinal Thickness Analyzer (RTA) can help you achieve all three goals.
Why the RTA
In a word — versatility. The RTA 5 combines a high-resolution fundus camera with a high-resolution scanning laser ophthalmoscope, the combination of which greatly increases the data returned in a single exam session. The RTA also can create 3-D reconstructions of imaged tissue. The compiled data adds to the completeness of the clinical picture.
RTA exams are simple to bill because there are two different CPT codes used to report testing with the RTA 5: 92250 (fundus photography) and 92135 (scanning laser ophthalmoscopy). This allows the user to choose the correct procedure code for each patient.
For the general patient population, the RTA 5 has a "Vision Wellness Examination," which can be used to screen patients for ocular diseases such as glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy.
Lastly, it's important to have an accurate baseline for every patient's posterior segment. Devices such as the RTA 5 can identify structural changes in the optic nerve and macula much earlier and more accurately than a clinician relying on observation alone.
Using the RTA 5 in Practice
Because the testing cycle is short and can be performed dilated or undilated, integrating the testing into your clinical protocols is easy. In my office, we perform Vision Wellness testing on patients after they've dilated. We do this because the testing is faster and more easily performed through a dilated pupil. The results are reviewed with the patient, and if additional testing or evaluation is necessary, we schedule it at this time.
In my office, patients who have known or suspected pathology usually are examined with the RTA 5 as part of their clinical evaluation.
Pictures Worth 1,000 Words
In addition to the clinical benefits of the RTA, it takes your interaction with patients to a whole new level. Just imagine showing a patient his optic nerve in three dimensions, the amount of thickening in his retina due to diabetic retinopathy or the wrinkle on his retinal surface caused by an epiretinal membrane. On paper or described verbally, these conditions may have little or no meaning to patients. But an image of what's normal and what's not paints a picture that can help patients better understand their condition.
Spread the Word
New "toys" are great, but if no one knows about them, you're selling yourself short. So remember to use brochures, print and e-newsletters, waiting room posters or on-hold messaging to let your patients know that you've added important technology to your practice.
Investing in the Future
Any investment in new technology will help bring more patients and more revenue into your practice. When you're deciding what type of equipment to buy, remember to think about the three goals, which will help guide you to the right decision for your practice. nOD
|Dr. Warren is the owner of a group practice that includes several optometrists and an ophthalmologist in Racine, Wis. This practice setting provides a varied patient base that offers many clinical challenges on a daily basis. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.|