Diagnostic Instrumentation

3 ROI Winners that Generated $200,000+ Last Year

Dr. Richard with her practice team. Dr. Richard says a few key investments, including the new Neurolens N3 device, were big patient care and profitability winners last year.

Dr. Richard with her practice team. Dr. Richard says a few key investments, including the N3 virtual headset device device, were big patient care and profitability winners last year.

Three winning additions to an independent practice.

By Melissa Richard, OD

June 5, 2024

We’re always looking for ways to take patient care and profitability to the next level in our practice.

Last year, there were a few clear winners for us in the quest to enhance care and spur financial growth.

Diabetic ERG

We added RETeval ERG in 2023 to better serve our low vision and diabetic patients.

Editor’s note: There is other technology providing ERG testing for diabetic patients, such as Optomed Aurora AEYE, Chronus ERG and RetinaVue by Baxter, among other options.

With our Vision Source discount, this investment cost us just under $20,000. The necessary disposable piece of this instrument costs us approximately $20 per patient.

The time it takes to do the ERG varies from less than a minute to less than three minutes depending on the protocol ordered.

The manufacturer of our ERG, LKC, provided virtual training. There was a separate training for staff and a separate session for doctor interpretation. The rep and virtual trainers are always available for questions.

This technology enables me to provide better care to my diabetic patients. The DR score that the diabetic protocol gives me is the single best predictor of diabetic retinopathy progression. If I find a patient is at high risk, I monitor them more often, consider starting them on supplements, or send them to a retina specialist.

I also use the RETeval Flicker 16 or PhNR protocols on my low vision patients, depending on their diagnosis. This gives me more information on their visual potential. I added the Flicker 16 to my early AMD detection evaluations. I that found the results correlate with their AdaptDx results and macular pigment optical density (MPOD) scores. I use the RETeval along with those other tests to help determine to whom to recommend supplements.

I feel like I am providing the highest level of care to my patients with use of ERG testing, and our patients are impressed with the technology.

ROI: The ERG is the highest reimbursing test we do at an average of $130 per patient. The device paid itself off in less than six months on reimbursement alone and it helped me sell supplements. I made an extra $50,000 in care for diabetic patients alone in less than a year.

Increased Sales of Contoured Prism Lenses

My goal in early 2023 was to sell 12 pairs of Neurolenses a month. We started sending patients the lifestyle index (questionnaire about near-vision symptoms) via e-mail ahead of time so they could fill it out before their appointment. Prior to that, they filled it out in the office.

Doing this ahead of time allowed me to identify more patients who could benefit from  Neurolens and do more testing. This refinement of our process doubled our Neurolens sales in the first and second quarter.

In the third quarter, I learned about the new N3 virtual headset device. Existing Neurolens providers were given the opportunity to “earn” N3 devices for each of their exam lanes by selling Neurolenses between Oct 1, 2023 and March 30, 2024. We reset our goals and killed it, earning an N3 device for each exam lane and then some!

This increase in sales cost us nothing financially; just slightly more effort in sending out the e-mails with the links ahead of each appointment, an extra two minutes for each test run and an extra couple minutes with the doctor explaining the results of the test. I also had my optician be more diligent in following up with my Neurolens patients to make sure they knew about our 50 percent discount if they got a second or third pair.

The more patients we identify who are suffering from symptoms of eye misalignment, the better for our patients. Selling more of these lenses means helping more patients. It’s obvious we are helping them when they order multiple pairs and refer their friends and family members.

ROI: We were up $100,000 in optical sales in 2023 compared to 2022. I attribute most of this to Neurolens sales, as these sales are not covered by vision or medical plans.

IPL with Radio Frequency Technology

We added OptiPLUS by Lumenis to our arsenal of dry eye treatments last year.

Studies show the outcome of OptiPlus (radio frequency) when added to OptiLIGHT (intense pulsed light) is greatly improved from IPL alone.

Editor’s Note: There are other technologies that also enable IPL with radio frequency, such as Optimas and MDelite, among other options.

As a current OptiLight provider, and Vision Source member, plus “an early adapter” discount, this investment cost us $60,000.

Training was provided by Lumenis. We completed the training on a weekend morning. We mostly do the procedure in conjunction with our Optilight IPL treatments. It adds about 10 minutes to each procedure.

We are now offering our dry eye patients the absolute highest level of care. Patients like it. It’s a comfortable and effective procedure. They also appreciate the rejuvenation effects of the RF – enhanced collagen production with reduced look of fine lines and wrinkles.

ROI: We make an additional $800 per patient who signs up for our dry eye treatment package. It’s an entirely out-of-pocket procedure. We already have the patient in the chair doing IPL, so it’s not a lot of extra time we need to block off, and the benefits to both the patient and our practice are great.

Melissa Richard, OD, MS, is the owner of Spectrum Vision in Chalfont, Penn. To contact her: mrichard@spectrumvision.com

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