Our five-location optometric practice, Nittany Eye Associates, located in State College, PA, employs 12 optometrists and a staff of 55. We provide full-scope optometric care, on-site consulting for LASIK surgery and other ophthalmology services, and see approximately 800 patients per week.
Our practice has always been dedicated to providing the best clinical care, while also providing an outstanding experience for our patients. This commitment to excellence in care and customer service has allowed us to weather the storm that stems from the increasing pressures of managed care as well as commercial and online competition. Although our practice has grown, we have remained committed to reinvesting in our practice to fulfill our mission of providing excellent diagnostic care.
EPIC-5100 = Effortless Refractions
Due to limited space and a need to increase efficiency and improve outcomes, we acquired three EPIC-5100 refraction workstations and began delegating refractions to our technicians. This decision was not taken lightly, and we had some concerns. For example, would delegating refractions increase the number of remakes and decrease our patient’s clinical results? Would the investment pay dividends — experientially for the patient and financially for our practice? Well, it’s been more than a year and half since we began this process, and I’m pleased to report that none of our concerns materialized and the investment was, in fact, a wise one.
The EPIC-5100 combines 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. The OPD-Scan III takes more than 20 measurements in less than 10 seconds, while assessing all aberrations in the optical pathway and establishing refraction start points. The TRS-5100 then steps in to complete all refractions with unprecedented accuracy, also in just seconds per eye.
Indeed, our patients overwhelmingly prefer the automated experience of the EPIC-5100 over the previous manual experience. The dual-prism technology of the EPIC-5100 allows the patient to see two cross-cylinder images simultaneously and, as a result, the process induces less anxiety as patients make their lens choices with confidence. In addition, patients perceive the refractive process as more comfortable and more advanced than the traditional manual refraction. Every day, we receive positive feedback from our patients about their experience with the technology. As a result, our patients view our practice as far more advanced and cutting-edge, which helps differentiate our practice from that of our competitors.
Not only is the patient experience better, but we’ve also found that the EPIC-5100 provides a better experience for our doctors and staff. The EPIC-5100 delivers consistent, accurate refractive data results. Our remake percentage for eyeglasses has dropped by more than half — from 12.8 to 6.3 percent.
Increasing the Bottom Line
Finally, our investment in the EPIC-5100 has paid dividends. By allowing us to quickly and easily show patients the difference between their current and new prescription, the EPIC-5100 helps us demonstrate how much better we can help them see. This also gives us more time to talk to patients about how to improve their visual performance and, in turn, their quality of life. The data automatically provided by the EPIC-5100 and the time provided to discuss options have resulted in an average increase of $69 per lens sale.
A Win-Win Situation
This single technology has helped us not only to increase our efficiency, but also to improve our patients’ experiences and our practice’s own financial performance. We could not be happier with the EPIC-5100.
– Mike Talone, OD is a managing partner at Nittany Eye Associates, State College, PA.