Category: Marco Blog

High-Tech Exam At A Personable But Appropriate Distance – An Article From Women in Optometry

Original Article Published in Women in Optometry

When Patricia Haller, OD, added Marco technology to her Chillicothe, Ohio, practice in 2015, physical distancing was not even a thought. But when she closed her office to routine care for four weeks during the stay-home orders in the state, she realized how this same technology allowed her to see emergency and urgent cases and still maintain some distance. Dr. Haller’s practice reopened at a lighter schedule to routine eye care in early May. She discovered that Marco was a “hidden gem” in the post-COVID era.

REFRACTIONS AT A DISTANCE

With the tabletop controller for her Marco 5100, she is able to conduct her refractions and sit about six feet away from the patients. “It’s also very easy to sterilize because all mechanisms are housed inside, so we wipe down the exterior casing without worrying,” she says.

She already knew its value. “I purchased my first TRS in 2015 when I built the new office. I left a manual phoropter in one of my exam lanes,” she says. However, she quickly realized she didn’t want to use that room for patient exams. So now she has three units—one in each exam lane.

“It helps to keep the process streamlined. I can control the speed at which the refraction takes place,” she says—an even more important factor in the post-COVID opening. “We want patients moving through the office efficiently so that we do not have any backup in the reception area. With the TRS, it’s quick to arrive at a final refraction, and patients can see and justify their decision to buy new eyewear.”

READY TO BUY

That’s helpful because every practice is faced now with trying to make up time and lost revenue from being closed to routine care. Happily for her, she says that patients are returning, ready and eager to buy. “I was prepared for the fact that patients might not be ready to make purchases. The staff and I discussed ways in which we could help patients with their essential needs if their finances were tight,” she says. She’s not finding that to be a hindrance, however.

“They’re excited to be back and have been updating their prescription eyewear without any of the hesitation I thought that we’d see.” Dr. Haller says that it is helpful that patients can see the steps that she and the staff members are taking to keep the practice and optical clean and sanitized. “We have a UVC wand that we are using to sterilize every frame that a patient tries on before those frames are placed back on the boards. We used to wipe down our frames on a regular basis, but now they’re sterilized.”

The practice staff works on maintaining physical distancing, and opticians are masked. Patients who don’t wear a mask are offered one—and patients who would like to wait before coming in are rescheduled.

UNEXPECTED SURPRISE WITH iON

Dr. Haller added the iON imaging system to her slit lamps, allowing her to take an anterior segment image and immediately pull it up on the computer screen. She can pivot the screen toward the patient or toward an attending family member so that she can explain what she’s seeing.“I purchased the iON because I thought it would be terrific to do anterior segment documentation in the exam room where I could enhance details. The unexpected surprise is the physical distancing that I gain with this—while still providing patients with a comprehensive exam,” she says.

Dr. Haller uses Marco’s autolensmeter and autorefractor, appreciating how quickly information can be downloaded into the electronic health record. “Even before the patient is escorted to the optical, the opticians already know the lens designs and recommendations,” she says.

She knew the equipment she has been purchasing would bring her speed, accuracy and efficiency. “But the help it provides in this time is something no one could have foreseen,” she says. The combination of a high-tech, highly efficient exam process and the sanitization and safety protocols that are on display are raising the likelihood that patients are talking about the practice to their friends. “Patients are saying, ‘I had my exam there, and it’s safe to go in.’”

That feedback makes Dr. Haller happy. She says that she missed her patients. “Nothing replaces that feeling of seeing the smile on a patient’s face, knowing that you helped. It’s been challenging, as I’m a hand-shaker and hugger, but we’re managing. It’s great to see my patients back.”

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[Webinar Recording] Introduction to Low Level Light Therapy for Effective MGD & Dry Eye Treatment

In this webinar, Dr. Karl Stonecipher discusses dry eye disease; the history, symptoms, diagnostics, different types of dry eye disease, and treatment. He also speaks to the equipment he uses in his dry eye clinic including the Equinox Low Level Light Therapy, OPD-Scan III Wavefront Aberrometer, Phoenix Meibography Workstation, and Blephex.

Low Level Light Therapy harnesses focused high intensity LED illumination to stimulate ATP generation which heats tissue endothermically. This has been shown to affect MGD as well as other ocular conditions. Dr. Stonecipher will share his experiences and thoughts about this innovative new technology. Equinox is sold through Marco Ophthalmic.

Dr. Karl G. Stonecipher, MD has been recognized as one of America’s Top Ophthalmologists because of his extensive experience with cataract and refractive surgery. He is a pioneer of the ophthalmic use of Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) technology in the United States.

Request more information about Dry Eye technologies from Marco →

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[Webinar Recording] How to Establish Safe Boundaries During a Comprehensive Exam

Brought to you by Advancing Eyecare.

Whether you’re a current Marco user or looking into the latest tools, Marco technologies can provide important patient safety measures in a post COVID-19 era. 

A panel of doctors share their stories with digital refraction and slit lamp imaging that enable safe social distancing, minimize patient / doctor / staff exposure with flexible configurations, and facilitate remote exam capabilities with new software. Automated refraction offers the ability for a comprehensive, efficient, and safe exam. We also discuss software optimization to see more patients in less time, patient retention, and more.

View The Webinar ‘How to Establish Safe Boundaries During a Comprehensive Exam’: 

View Marco’s Exclusive Offer →

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How Eye Doctors Are Adapting To Provide Safer Eye Exams Beyond PPE and Sterilization

News Release Through PR Newswire

Technology Enables Eye Doctors to be in Another Room or Another Location

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.May 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The country is carefully navigating through the COVID-19 challenge, and executive orders are being lifted in phases across the country.  In the medical field, patients are able to selectively visit doctors for non-emergency procedures, including visiting their eyecare professionals. These medical professionals have countless resources available detailing safe guidelines through use of personal protective equipment (PPE), sterilization practices and protocols, check in and waiting room procedures, and more.

By nature, eye exams are up close and personal. Yet, how do you achieve acceptable safe social distancing for patients? The latest technology in eyecare now allows doctors to perform many tests from more than 6 feet away, from another room or even remote locations, and with even greater accuracy.

Demonstration of a social distance refraction exam

Marco Ophthalmic, a leader in vision diagnostics, has developed the latest refraction technology (used to determine new eyeglass/contact lens prescriptions) that is becoming the new normal in the post-COVID-19 world. Marco’s technology offers eyecare professionals flexibility to perform eye exams faster while maintaining social distance (they can use a control panel from over 6 feet away) and even offer full tele-medicine solutions by using web cameras to interact with patients. Marco technology also provides for greater efficiencies, helping to reduce time spent in the exam room and limit exposure for both the doctor and the patient without affecting the quality of the exam. In fact, Marco technology can even enhance the patient experience.

Historically, when a patient was asked the well-known question, “Which is better— 1 or 2?”, they were shown two different images, while the doctor flipped between lenses.  Now with the new technology, the patient can view the images side-by-side. It is easier to give better answers to the doctor which, in turn, results in a more accurate prescription.

Dr. Coby Ramsey, who utilizes the technology at Ramsey Eye Care Center in Rock Springs, Wyoming said, “When COVID erupted we still wanted to be efficient and thorough, and we also wanted to be safe.  Looking ahead, we will need to be even more aware of safe practices, and this is the new normal in eyecare. Social distancing doesn’t just mean staying 6 feet apart—it means doing everything we can to reduce exposure and keep our staff and patients healthy.”

Dr. Eric Hammond, who operates Lakeline Vision Source in Cedar Park, Texas, said, “A lot of people think you will lose the personal touch doing exams from a different room.  But now more than ever I think patients are more appreciative and more comfortable.  As we start to open back up to routine eye exams, I have found that patients are even more grateful of the extra protective steps we have taken from our sterilization practices to the technology we’ve invested in.”

Dr. Ramsey added: “We also plan to bring tele-optometry to our practice.  The patients will continue to visit the office and will go through our advanced testing technology, while I can remotely analyze the results, prescribe what’s needed, and accommodate my patients’ busy schedules while providing the best care for their eye health. It’s a new world we’re living in, and we are adapting to best accommodate to protect our staff and patients.”

* Editor’s Note:  Marco can help you locate eye doctors in your area if you are interested in reporting on this technology. Please email info@marco.com.

About Marco
Marco is the Leader in Vision Diagnostics®, committed to offering the finest in both classical and automated diagnostic instruments, for the complete practice. Products offered focus on high quality, ergonomically designed, integrated instruments that deliver efficiency. Superior educational tools, courses and extended protection programs accompany the products. Marco is headquartered in Jacksonville, FL. For more information, visit www.marco.com.

Related Information:
Marco Ophthalmic:  https://marco.com/ 
COVID-19: A physician practice guide to reopening:  https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/covid-19-physician-practice-guide-reopening 
American Academy of Ophthalmology:  https://www.aao.org/ 
American Optometric Associationhttps://www.aoa.org/

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[Webinar Recording] Cleaning and Disinfecting the Practice in the COVID-19 Era

cleaning-banner

Brought to you by Advancing Eyecare.

Reopening your practice for routine eye care involves numerous behind-the-scenes adaptations to ensure the safety and peace-of-mind of your patients, your staff, and yourself. With representation from industry-leading manufacturers, join us for an informational panel discussion to learn about cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization of your instruments and exam lanes. Every instrument has different requirements. This webinar covers what to look for in manufacturers’ instructions for use, red flags to be aware of to avoid damaging your instruments, different types of disinfecting agents, and more. Learn about sanitization of your exam lanes and instruments, myths and facts on the various types of tonometers, and what disposables and accessories are available to practice more safely.

Shop Disposables and COVID-19 Ready Accessories →

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How We Create Future Successes – An Article From Optometric Management

By April Jasper, OD, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor
OptometricManagement.com 
Original Article Published in Optometric Management, May 2020 

Experts tell us we are in unprecedented times and that the future is unpredictable. How are we to be courageous when that is the message we continue to hear? Let us slow down and look at some facts together:

  • People continue to need eye care, glasses and contact lenses.
  • Worldwide, myopia is a growing, major problem.
  • More than ever, people are struggling with digital eye strain.
  • Eye diseases are on the rise, and many are undetectable without a comprehensive eye health evaluation.

And the list goes on. . .
We can also predict that:

  • The coronavirus will still be the virus and, at least for a little while, it will still create concern for our team and our patients.
  • Patients may not have as much time off of work for visits during typical 9-to-5 hours.
  • Patients who stocked up on contact lenses may not return for a while.

Now that we looked at the facts, let’s look for opportunities to be of value to our patients. Here, strategy is important. To help plan, I encourage you to read a book that was a tremendous resource to me following the financial crisis of 2007 to 2008. In the book Predictable Results in Unpredictable Times, authors Stephen Covey and Bob Whitman write, “If there is one thing that’s certain in business, it’s  uncertainty. Still, there are great organizations that perform consistently and with excellence, regardless of the conditions.”

APPLYING THE LESSONS

Reading the book cover to cover, I applied as much as I could at the time. I then continued to adapt as ideas came to mind. The results, both financially and psychologically, were and continue to be, tremendous. Below are the general lessons the book teaches:

The Four Hazards of Unpredictable times are:

  • Failure to execute your strategy. This can be either because your team doesn’t know the strategy or they were not trained to do what you asked. Good news here: We have time to make certain our teams are well trained and ready to execute.
  • Crisis of trust either in the strategy, the leaders, the organization or the team. This crisis of trust can be in our patients, our employees or both. When they don’t trust the organization, everything slows down and revenues drop.
  • Loss of focus on the strategy either due to the fact that your team is doing too many jobs at one time or because there is no leader who is monitoring progress with lead measures (those established to achieve the goals) and lag measures (those that determine whether you achieved your goals).
  • Pervasive fear either of losing employment, being unable to get everything done at work and at home, getting sick, dying or not being able to pay the mortgage or other bills. This typically refers to employees, but can also apply to patients.

The reality is we must look at the facts, anticipate the hazards and then put a plan in place to avoid them. We can then create a strategy that executes the priorities with excellence, moves with the speed of trust, achieves more with less and reduces fear, not only in our team and our customers, but also in  ourselves. As I worked through hazards 11 years ago, I was thrilled to see the results. We can do it again and, in doing so, we will create value for our patients and achieve success.

Email: april.jasper@pentavisionmedia.com
Twitter: @OptoManagement
Facebook: @OptometricManagement

Filed under: Marco Blog

Guidelines & Recommendations for Preparing Your Practice – Post COVID-19

As the entire globe carefully navigates through this COVID-19 challenge, the Advancing Eyecare Alliance would like to offer some tips and guidance to consider as you begin to reopen for patients.

Personal Protection

By now, it should be common practice that masks & gloves be worn at all times, and that consistent hand-washing / hand-sanitizing occurs before and after every patient encounter.  Have your patients also use hand-sanitizer whenever possible, before and after the exam.  If patients don’t have their own mask, it might be a good idea to supply one for them if you can.

Maintaining an acceptable distance between you and your patients, at least as much as possible given tight office & exam room constraints, should also be common practice right now.  Escorting patients at all times through the office also helps to eliminate any “wandering”, and further reduces the possibility of unnecessary exposure & contamination.

Office Environment

Try to limit the number of patients you schedule, and spread out your appointments as much as possible.  And by all means, try to eliminate additional family members.  There should be only one patient per exam room, no extras!  Expand your office hours, and possibly days, to compensate for longer patient intervals.  Rearrange your waiting room to provide as much space as possible between patients.  Ask as many COVID-19 “screening” questions as possible (any temperature, any recent travels, any family members or friends recently test positive?).  Also, consider investing in thermometers and taking temperatures prior to seeing patients.

Incorporate an on-line patient registration process to reduce personal interaction.  If patients have to manually sign-in, use disposable pens (and tell the patient they can keep it after they sign in!).  Wherever appropriate, install plexiglass screening barriers for additional protection.  Increase the use of contact-less payment options.  Payment by phone is another way to reduce any extra face-to-face encounters.  Offer curb-side pick-up of glasses, contact lenses, etc.

Sanitization (In the Office)

Maintaining a clean office is, of course, essential to keeping your patients & staff healthy.  Constantly sanitize all surfaces that see human activity, both in the waiting room and throughout the office. Wipe down all door handles (don’t forget about bathroom handles) both inside & out.  It also helps if your patients get to occasionally witness this cleaning process.  Again, they like seeing the attention to this very important detail.

Sanitization (In the Exam Room)

This is obviously THE most critical area to keep clean – before & after every patient.  Always sanitize all instrumentation a patient comes in contact with.  Forehead rests, chinrests, exam chair armrests, etc.  That includes any pre-test equipment, autorefractors, OCTs, and visual field machines.  Don’t forget about phoropter face shields.  Those especially need proper sanitizing after every refraction.  Also, slit lamp breath shields have become an absolute must in this new environment.  Most surfaces require a strong alcohol-based cleansing agent depending on the instrument, however some cleansing agents may damage instruments. It’s always wise to consult with your supplier for advice on proper sanitization techniques for your instruments if you’re not sure.  Also, try to leave doors open as much as possible to help circulate air for better ventilation, especially in exam rooms.

Communications / Marketing / Patient Experience

This component is absolutely critical. Reassuring your patients that you are doing everything possible for their safety builds trust and confidence. Educate your patients by updating your website, social media channels, and your on-hold messaging. Email marketing is an affordable, yet effective way to reach your patients—send them periodic updates to keep them in the loop.

When patients check in, provide them with a checklist that highlights all the things you’re doing to create a comfortable, sanitized environment. Add signage around your office with friendly reminders on social distancing, cleaning policies, etc. By now, everyone is keenly aware of the basic guidelines & protocols businesses must take, and the expectations for medical facilities are even greater.

However, it’s one thing to take the necessary and proper precautions, but it leaves a much longer-lasting impression when they actually see you doing these things. Provide them with a white-glove experience from the moment they walk in the door. Make sure they see you or your staff wiping things down. Take 30 seconds to explain to them everything you’re doing for them. Communication is a must to keep your patients engaged and at ease, and actually experiencing it for themselves will resonate in a whole different manner. Patients have a new expectation of standard of care and the definition of trust has changed.

Instrumentation

Finally, this experience has given everyone valuable time to consider new ways to deliver eye care, and telemedicine is certainly at the top of the list.  Automated refraction and slit lamp imaging are now essential for social distancing and helping prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Maintain your distance, evaluate patients virtually from the next room to minimize exposure, or even provide exams from home—these instruments provide you with flexibility. As an added benefit, these technologies increase efficiency and profitability as well. While the technology has been around for years, the need for these in practices is more important now than ever.

From our family to yours, we wish you the very best during the recovery process. The eye care community is resilient, and we’re here to help every step of the way.

 

Additional Resources:

 

 

About Advancing Eyecare
Advancing Eyecare is a partnership of leaders in the eyecare instrumentation marketplace established to offer the best products and service solutions in the ophthalmic equipment industry. Currently comprised of Marco Ophthalmic, Lombart Instrument, Enhanced Medical Services (EMS), Ophthalmic Instruments, Inc. , S4Optik and INNOVA Medical, the combined scope of the organization has the broadest product portfolio, the most knowledgeable people, and the most reliable service in the industry.

Filed under: Marco Blog

Introducing the Advancing Eyecare Webinar Series

Our team is constantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation. We conducted a survey recently and we want you to know that we’ve analyzed the results and have come up with a series of educational events based on your feedback.

Join us for one our free webinars, or register for an on-demand webinar that fits your schedule.

Click Here to see the Topics, Schedule, and Sign Up!

 

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The Power of “Wow”

Our practice, Virginia Eye Consultants, is a tertiary care referral practice specializing in cornea, refractive, uveitis, retina, glaucoma, and oculoplastics. We firmly believe in collaborative care, and we work closely with the optometric community. Recently, our practice celebrated our 50th anniversary providing world-classspecialty eye care to our Hampton Roads community.

We house 17 providers, including 13 ophthalmologists, 4 optometrists, and 225 support team members, and we perform in excess of 5,000 surgical procedures annually, with the majority being cataract surgical procedures. We have four locations throughout the Hampton Roads area, with our main office located in Norfolk, VA, and three satellite offices located within 30 minutes of each other.

Several years ago, we made one of our best strategic and business decisions when we acquired Marco’s EPIC-5100 for our main office. This is where the majority of our providers are based and most of our cataract and refractive evaluations are performed.

The EPIC-5100 combines two of Marco’s most advanced visual pathway assessment technologies: the OPD-Scan III wavefront aberrometer and corneal analyzer and the TRS-5100 digital refractor. The two technologies can be used together to evaluate the entire visual system in a fraction of the time it takes traditional manual systems.

Indeed, we chose the EPIC-5100 system specifically to address and improve our patient throughput and efficiency, and we couldn’t be more pleased. To say the EPIC-5100 has improved our performance in this area would be an understatement. The majority of our patients are referred to us for cataract and refractive surgery from our optometric referral network. Utilizing this technology has improved our efficiency through the technician workup alone.

Prior to implementing the EPIC-5100, our technicians took nearly 40 minutes to perform a patient workup, gathering data from visual acuities to topography to refractions. In the time since we’ve acquired the EPIC-5100, we have been able to get the same amount of data in just 15 minutes, allowing us to improve both efficiency and overall time for cataract/refractive evaluations.

The user-friendly platform enables technicians to quickly gather the critical data that are used to determine each patient’s optimal treatment, whether that is for cataract or refractive surgery. A wealth of information critical to each patient’s visual system from the refraction — wavefront measurements, pupil size, angle kappa, and corneal topography — is gathered swiftly and efficiently using the EPIC-5100. The EPIC-5100, combined with the OPD-Scan III, can give us more than 20 measurements to utilize in our decision making. Even better, all of the data can be captured in about 10 seconds.

Additionally, we have an OPD-Scan III at each satellite location, which allows us to gather the clinical information necessary to make our recommendations.

Patients and Practitioners Both Benefit
The decision of whether or not to adopt new technologies can be challenging. However, when it comes to innovative technology such as the EPIC-5100, the decision was easy for us. From the “wow” factor to patient education to informed clinical decision making, patients and practitioners both benefit from the EPIC-5100 and the OPD-Scan III.

Our biggest challenge prior to adopting the EPIC-5100 was patient wait times due to bottlenecks resulting from lengthy patient workups. As in any practice, patient wait times play a significant role in the patient experience, and it is important to continuously evaluate our practice processes and procedures to optimize care. With the Marco products, we are able to utilize the technology to improve throughput as well as the staff and patient experience.

The EPIC-5100 and OPD-Scan III technology differentiate our practice and provide information we can share with our patients. It gives them the confidence that they’re in the presence of state-of-the-art technology that will be used to determine which procedures and surgeries are best for them. We measure patient satisfaction with surveys after each visit and gauge the patient experience by using the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems survey; they show definitively that patients believe they’re receiving the care they need and deserve. Each survey provides different information about the experience they had and the level of satisfaction with their care.

Enhancing Patient Education and Experience
Regardless of the condition for which a patient presents, patient education is key to successful outcomes. With the OPD-Scan III, we have the ability to educate patients about the impact on the ocular surface using the placido rings from dry eye to pterygium to other corneal surface irregularities. We can use the topography maps to discuss either the normal or abnormal corneal curvature, which shows why patients may have compromised vision and what we can do to address the condition.

Another feature of the OPD-Scan III that we take advantage of to educate our patients is simulating their vision before or after correction. In a practice like ours, this is turning out to be a vital tool in helping patients recognize the benefits of a new refraction, contact lens prescription, or surgical procedure.

As an optometric referral center, our practice’s success and growth is focused on patient experience and outcomes. The “wow” factor experienced by the patient while going through testing as well as our ability to minimize wait times and the amount of time patients are seen for their cataract/refractive evaluation determines our success. The information the technology provides give us the ability to make a solid recommendation for treatment.

Marco has been a great partner with our practice in providing the support and resources we need to successfully implement and utilize their technology. From the initial training for the staff to the support for providers on how to understand and utilize the technology, Marco has truly helped us to maximize the technology in daily practice.

Innovative Technology Is Key to Success
It’s also worth noting that implementing innovative technology is a key way to help differentiate your practice, prepare it for the future, and, perhaps most importantly, protect it against competition of all kinds. Online refractions, for example, provide limited data with questionable reliability. Technologies, such as the EPIC-5100 and OPD-Scan III, however, provide an unmatched experience and information that patients simply can’t get online.

With changes in optometry due to supply and demand in eyecare providers, optometrists will be called upon to provide more medical eye care for our patients and communities. The EPIC-5100 and the OPD-Scan III can aid providers in gathering reliable data in an efficient manner while allowing us to concentrate on our patients’ medical needs, such as diabetes, glaucoma, and cataracts, something the online competition cannot do.

Optometrists would do well to recognize these benefits and respond accordingly.

– Walter Whitley, OD, MBA, FAAO, is the director of optometric services at Virginia Eye Consultants, which serves the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.

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We want to hear your questions, advice, and concerns.

Most practices are understandably concerned about the spread of the virus and its effect on their business. As the situation changes daily, we want you to know that we are here for you and our team is constantly monitoring the situation.

We are conducting a brief (5-10 minute) survey to hear how you’re dealing with the global pandemic. We want to hear your questions, advice, and concerns.

Stay tuned for future webinars and articles to share best practices recommended by your peers and to help alleviate some of your concerns.

Click Here to Take the Brief Survey

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