New Technology and New Doctors

By Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO April 04, 2016

Do you ever feel like no matter how fast you move, technology is moving faster? I know I do. In fact, I sometimes feel like the rabbit in “Alice in Wonderland” ... "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get." Fortunately, there is hope. The magic is not in the technology alone; it is the application of technology which leads to better patient outcomes.

I had the pleasure of having my daughter home for spring break from optometry school recently. She is just about ready to begin her year of clinical externship and is all excited about the new innovations and technologies in optometry. OCT, fundus autofluorescence, the Welch Allyn “Spot,” Tear Lab, and Lipiview, to name a few. It is so cool to see these new cutting-edge technologies so prominent in the thinking of optometric externs! Awesome!

So, I asked my daughter, “How do you see these changes impacting our profession going forward?” She was quick to answer: "better ability to monitor and measure progression of disease, improved ability to confirm when change is suspected, and increased confidence in diagnosis and treatment." Wow!

Vision is so precious. Isn't it great that optometric education is preparing such capable clinicians? With all the innovation, technology, and change, it is clear that new doctors are tremendously important to our profession. It is imperative that we welcome them with practice opportunities, which will help them reach their potential and propel optometry forward. After all, they are a crucial component of innovation and change.

As I see it, the world is spinning fast. Innovation and technology must be embraced; they are not optional. New graduates are on the way, equipped with clinical skills, expertise, and energy. They grew up with social media, they easily relate to the millennial generation, and they are excited to begin practice. Let's be sure that we are creating practice opportunities which will position new doctors for success and provide seasoned doctors with inspiration and renewed focus as we seek to incorporate these transformational changes into our practices.

What is your experience with technologies like OCT, fundus autofluorescence, the Welch Allyn “Spot,” Tear Lab, and Lipiview? What others are making a difference in your practice?

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