An "Old Story" and a "New Look" at Technology and Innovation

By Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO March 07, 2016

Perhaps an "old story" from my practice can give us a "new look" at technology and innovation. Many years ago, I received a promotional pd gauge at an optometric CE meeting. It was nothing special – really – except that it had LED lights, which alternated between red and blue when taking a pd. (Yes, I used to take my own pds!). As I began to use the new pd gauge, I learned a very valuable lesson in the reaction of my patients. In a few words, they were impressed with this new technology and innovation … even though all that was different was the two flashing lights.

There is no question about it; our patients love it when we have something new. The psychology of change is remarkable. Change is the magic that transforms patient interaction from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Even more, when we can demonstrate real improvement in our ability to care for our patients, we begin to really make a difference and everything about the patient experience gets a lift.

And it is not just new equipment. It could be a better explanation, a new report, or even a better approach for obtaining a case history. The point is that our patients respond favorably when we change it up. Change keeps us fresh, adds enthusiasm, and keeps us excited about what we are doing ... and it keeps our patients interested.

So, what is new and different about optometric practice? The answer is almost everything. The capability of optometric physicians continues to expand. Data is more meaningful, our ability to interpret, diagnose and plan appropriate treatment is greatly enhanced, diagnostic equipment is greatly improved, and the result is ever improving patient outcomes. Optometry has become an essential component of health and wellness.

The practice of optometry certainly has momentum, but we must continue to progress. We need to demonstrate something new at each patient visit. The new and improved should always be highlighted as we pursue improved patient care. After all, each visit represents a new opportunity to educate and increase awareness. It is all part of doing a better job, increasing patient confidence, and securing our continued role.

As I see it, patients want and expect new technology and innovation. They want their doctors to demonstrate a cutting-edge approach and to be willing to change and evolve. Our goal should be to make every visit memorable. So, let's remember to highlight our changes and keep our flashing lights in plain sight as we endeavor to deliver ever improving patient care.

Of all the new innovations and disruptive technologies you’ve seen or heard about, which do you feel has the most potential to have a positive impact on your business and/or the industry and why? Join the conversation on the VSP Providers Facebook page

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