By Brett M. Paepke, OD
A wavefront analyzer/automated refraction system can expedite the diagnosis process and provide more in-depth data. Upgrading to such systems also equips you to provide higher level “personalized lenses.”
CONSOLIDATE DATA COLLECTION.Updatedinstrumentation can performauto-refraction, auto-keratometry, corneal topography, pupillometry and wavefront aberometry all in one instrument.
COMPUTEROI. Do the math on$60,000 leased over five years with a $1 buyout vs. time saved andhigher professional fees.
SPOTLIGHT CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY. Send a message to patients you have the latest technology that provides “personalized lenses.”
Providing a high-level of eyecare to our patients is a top priority, but so is efficiency. For that reason, ourpractice investedina wavefront analyzer/automated refraction system that is paying off. It saves me about 10 minutes per patient, and has allowed med to raise professional fees relating to contact lens care between 25-40 percent depending on the service. We added two appointment slots to my schedule as a result of this increased efficiency.
In addition to aiding my examinations of contact lens patients, this technology provides a higher level of detailed information that can demonstrate the benefits of personalized lenses. This information is automatically input into your practice management system, which saves and time and ensures accuracy.
Equipment companies will rightfully promote the increased efficiencies and additional multiple-pair sales enabled by this instrument, but perhaps the biggest benefit is the enhancement of the patient experience and how that can justify higher professional fees. In our practice, we’ve found these fee increases alone more than cover the monthly cost of the equipment. And it’s hard to put a dollar sign on the value of impressing patients with something the latest diagnostic instruments.
ROB Bottom Line: Wavefront Analyzer
Loan term: 5 years
Interest rate: 5.25%
Loan amount: $60,000
Total monthly payment: $1,139.16
Assess Usefulness of Instrument
We paid $60,000 is for the OPD-Scan III, TRS-5100, and the lensmeter (LM-600). See box to the left for breakdown of the associated finances. The wavefront system we purchased, the OPD-Scan III, incorporates auto-refraction, auto-keratometry, corneal topography, pupillometry and wavefront aberometry into one instrument. This results in a lot of diagnostic data being captured in a small amount of time. That data is then viewable within the exam rooms for discussion with patients and can easily be imported into the TRS-5100 automated refractor to provide an optimized refraction process.
Our full setup cost about $60,000 and is leased over five years with a $1 buyout. The instrumentation has been profitable from the outset just based on the increase in professional fees. For example, even a modest $25 increase in contact lens evaluation fees over 50 patients in a month would pay the lease. The time savings and increase in patients upgrading their glasses have been notable.
We average 85 contact lens prescriptions per month and raised our standard contact lens fee $20. This results in a $1,700 increase in revenue.
We could have raised regular, non-contact lens exam fees, but we felt the most noticeable difference to our patient experience was the review of the corneal topography for contact lens wearers. It was easy to incorporate into our exams, explain to patients, and, in turn, justify the higher fee vs. glasses patients. Getting the patients involved in understanding how they are benefiting from the technology and tests done was, in our opinion, important to acceptance of higher fees and this was more easily achieved with contact lens patients.
In addition to the increase in professional fees, there are three things that contribute to this instrument’s profitability:
? Time savings per patient allows the provider to perform more exams per day, as it saves me about 10 minutes per patient and adds to two free appointment slots per day.
? One-touch ability to compare habitual prescription to refraction allows patients to see the benefits of updating glasses
? Refraction results show some patients will require an additional pair of glasses for low light conditions, aiding multiple-pair sales.
DECIDE BILLING STRATEGY
While the OPD-III has corneal topography (CPT 92025) and anterior segment photography (CPT 92285) capabilities that can be billed for when clinically appropriate, the majority of the time we aren’t providing these services on a medically necessary basis. Rather, our use of the technology has allowed us to increase professional fees for services such as contact lens and refractive surgery care.
The wavefront analyzer/automated refraction system in Dr. Paepke’s office, next to a tapestry showing off the practice’s school spirit.
GENERATE MORE DETAILED INFO, ENHANCE PATIENT EXPERIENCE
The effect on the patient experience has been at least as valuable as the direct monetary benefit. The integration of the OPD Scan-III and theMARCO TRS-5100 autorefractor sends a clear message to patients that we are investing in technology that allows us to provide them with the best possible care.
We made the purchase armed with the knowledge that we would be the only practice in our area incorporating corneal topography into the standard care of all contact lens patients. Having the ability to obtain topography data at the same time as auto-refraction and auto-keratometry and then being able to graphically review that with patients in the exam room has been invaluable.
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