By Frank Giammanco

It’s a huge understatement to say that technology dominates our lives more thoroughly now than at any time within the last 20 years. From the Internet to smartphones technology plays a major role in our daily lives, and the same can be said for its place in vision care.

Today, diagnostic instrumentation has also received a healthy infusion of high tech, making it easier than ever to operate and better than ever for both patient and practice.

But some ECPs are reluctant to take on the new diagnostic technology, weighing cost versus benefit. The operative word here is cost. Think of the new diagnostics you purchase as an investment rather than a cost incurred. Here are five great reasons why that’s so:

Reason #1
It Makes You a Better Health Care Professional

We all know that there’s more to an eye exam than refraction, but what some may not realize is that a comprehensive exam using the best available technology is vital in assessing a patient’s overall health. How many patients have discovered they have diabetes, for example, thanks to an eye exam?  In fact, a comprehensive eye examination employing the latest diagnostic technology has allowed the eye care professional to detect serious, life-threatening conditions such as cancer, brain tumors, aneurysms, and heart disease.

The HFC-1 Non-Mydriatic Fundus Camera from Coburn aids in the early detection of overall health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, brain tumors, heart disease, aneurysms and more. The benefits for your practice? Patients will be impressed by the new, sleek technology and quick capture from HFC-1’s auto tracking and auto shooting, making the imaging a speedy process. This new fundus camera can also auto adjust to small pupils. A comprehensive retinal imaging system, HFC-1 measures, analyzes, diagnoses, and reports all on its built-in PC. Incorporating fundus photography into your practice will increase your offering to patients and further bolster your reputation as an eye care professional.

Reason #2
Your Patients Expect It.

Forrester Research, among other market researchers, has determined unequivocally that today’s patients expect their health care providers to be up to date when it comes to new technology. Entering an exam room and seeing decades-old equipment isn’t exactly a confidence builder, and it certainly doesn’t garner referrals. Technology has become a fundamental priority for providing a quality patient experience, a paradigm shift from the days when the practitioner dictated what that experience should be. And the bar for patient expectations continues to get higher. What’s more, the latest technology helps you build your brand. Do you want to be known as the high-tech eye doctor?

Patients spend most of their time during an eye exam behind a phoropter. Upgrading to a digital refractor, like the HDR-9000 Digital Refractor by Coburn, will not only impress your patients who are accustomed to clunky manual refractors, but it will also shorten the exam time. Another benefit is HDR-9000’s wireless connection to the Huvitz HRK-9000A Autorefractor/Keratometer and HLM-9000 Lensmeter, creating a suite of reliable, digital testing technology to save you time and enhance the patient experience. The HDR-9000 Digital Refractor embodies today’s advanced refraction, both in its capabilities and its design. ECPs can expect more (and better) efficiency, data, and patient satisfaction.

Reason #3
It Can Open Up New Revenue Streams.

Vision correction via refraction is covered by vision care plans. But vision health examinations and vision-related diseases are generally covered by regular health insurance and Medicare. Fundus photography, glaucoma testing, and testing for macular degeneration are all covered by most health care plans and Medicare Part B. And in addition to increasing practice revenue, they add to patient satisfaction and health. Optical chains have realized this for years and most have made the technology investment to increase their per-store incomes—and impress their patients.

The HRK-9000A Autorefractor/Keratometer also offers wavefront technology, an analysis algorithm that goes beyond general refraction to determine highly accurate and reliable cornea refractive power and index. Many ODs aren’t aware that wavefront technology is billable, as it has its own CPT code for insurance purposes. This enables ODs to provide a more advanced eye exam while taking advantage of a new revenue stream.

The HFC-1 Non-Mydriatic Fundus Camera can be a great addition to your extensive product offering. HFC-1 has Enhanced Visualization Technology (EVT) which helps to acquire the highest quality images for any clinical case. This makes EVT beneficial when capturing fine pathological variation. And by adjusting the Fixation Target position on the LCD screen, users can acquire more accurate and precise measurement results. The HFC-1 also features a variety of image modes and a panorama view to create high-resolution composite images to show a broader range of retinal surface area while minimizing distortions. Adding a fundus camera to your practice will open a new revenue stream and give your patients to opportunity to learn about early signs and detection of larger health conditions.

Reason #4
It Can Save the Doctor Time.

Many diagnostic procedures today can and are performed by vision care techs, preserving valuable chair time, and leaving the doctor time to consult with patients or discuss specific treatments. Visual field testing, for example, which is a component of the overall refraction, can be handled by the tech easily. Also, today’s diagnostics are so much easier to operate that staff need not have to undergo heavy training to become proficient.

Also available from Coburn Technologies is the new SK-950C Visual Field Analyzer, built with an optical design system that ensures the projection stimulus is fully compliant with the international standards on every aspect. Plus, SK-950C has a perfect, comprehensive monitoring design that allows for accurate detection of the tester cooperation condition to guarantee the reliability of the report. Using the SK-950C in tandem with the HFC-1 fundus camera is a great way to provide a more comprehensive exam, and better yet, they are quick, efficient, and easy for any tech to learn and operate.

Reason #5
It Can Add to Your Practice’s Asset Value, and is Tax Deductible.

As it has been for quite some time, capital equipment is a deductible practice expense on your tax returns. Also, as a remodeled home derives more market value, a remodeled practice replete with the latest diagnostic technology adds considerable value and salability as well, according to many practice brokers.

Prospective buyers, and patients, will be impressed the HDR-9000 Digital Refractor which features a 21 Point Exam, eliminating complexity allowing everyone to perform refractions easily. All results appear on display for easy reading by both examiner and patient. The system is also equipped with wireless communication with HRK-9000A Autorefractor/Keratometer and HLM-9000 Auto Lensmeter, allowing perfect data transmission regardless of the working environment. Having a comprehensive, connected suite of products makes your business look more consistent and efficient, and enhances value by staying up to date.

Is it time for you to upgrade your practice’s diagnostic equipment? If so, be sure to contact your Coburn Technologies representative to learn about the latest technology options. Contact us to find the sales consultant for your area.

Frank Giammanco is a longtime veteran of marketing communications for the optical industry and professions. He is the founder and former CEO of First Vision Media Group, Inc., publishers of Vision Care Product News (VCPN).