By Brittany Degler, OD
May 10, 2023
When building a practice, you have two major aims: advance patient care and create a financially secure, growing business. I found technologies that have been instrumental in helping accomplish these goals. Here are the details on how the technologies from Topcon Healthcare are helping to power my practice’s growth.
Technologies that Springboard a Cold Start
Topcon technologies have played a huge role in my practice’s expansion and patient care. I opened cold in August of 2020. As the only optometrist in my area, I knew I would see a broad spectrum of patients and ocular disease.
I purchased the Maestro2 Robotic OCT and Color Fundus Camera when we opened and have been so pleased with the level of patient education I am able to provide with those images. It is also a big plus having the technology to manage my patients with glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetes and other sight-threatening conditions in-office. I know I provide the best care by monitoring them with the best technology.
Within two years of opening, we were so busy with patients that it was already time to expand. We leased the unit next door and added three exam lanes, a special testing room, a pediatric space and more staff areas. Our Topcon technology has enabled our practice to offer thorough and efficient exams. My new associate optometrists love working with the technology as much as I do.
In addition to the Maestro2 OCT-Fundus Camera, I have a Topcon SL-D2 slit lamp with the DC-4 digital camera and the CA-800 corneal analyzer, which are both positively impacting patient care and experience. All three pieces of equipment provide valuable diagnostic information, but they also produce beautiful and easy-to-read images to show my patients. They help me to explain conditions and also help the patients to better understand their diagnoses and the reasons behind their treatment plans.
Changing Patient Lives
I added the CA-800 about a year after opening my practice. I have many dry eye patients and wanted a way to give them a more thorough evaluation with specific and on-point treatment plans. The meibomian imaging and tear breakup videos from the CA-800 are amazing diagnostic and patient education tools. My patients can actually see their underlying dry eye issues, which helps them understand the “why” behind their treatments and adhere to them better. The CA-800 has really helped me build my dry eye practice and has enabled me to build a reputation in my area as the go-to dry eye specialist.
A patient with hypertensive retinopathy and extremely high blood pressure came into my office. When I first discussed the condition with her, she was in denial and did not want us to check her blood pressure. Once I showed the patient her retinal images on the Maestro2 photo, and she could see for herself the hemorrhaging and damage in her retina, she trusted me that there was something real going on. Her blood pressure in the office was so high that I had to send her directly to the emergency room. She called the office a few days later to thank us for providing her with the information to understand the severity of her condition. The ER doctors told this patient that we likely saved her from having a stroke.
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I recommend screening imaging on the Maestro2 to all of my new routine/comprehensive patients. The reason I recommend the screening is for better and earlier detection of ocular issues. Screening is also great for practice profitability. The imaging drives additional income and the screening also allows me to keep more of my medical patients in-house. For example, if a new patient has glaucoma, there is the fee we charge for the imaging, but that diagnosis also brings the patient back to our office for additional testing and treatments. The sum of all of their future testing is huge, and I would not be able to see them for any of those visits if I did not have the Maestro2.
Create an Experience Patients Want to Return to
I get comments and reviews from patients all the time that they received the most thorough eye exam of their life in my practice. I attribute that to the great Topcon technology that I have in my office. Patients are able to see their retinal layers on the Maestro2 imaging, they can watch their tears evaporate on the CA-800, and they can see photos of their corneal abrasions healing over time on the DC-4 slit lamp camera. The technology is great for my patients and also for growing my business. Due to the wonderful patient word-of-mouth and practice growth, we expanded after only two years.
Patients love to know they are getting the best exam with the best technology. Many of our patients are highly tech-savvy and are looking for the latest innovations for their exams. Many patients tell us they were referred by friends or neighbors due to our Topcon technology.
With our expanded space, we have a goal of doubling our patient flow over the next year. This has come with many hurdles including new doctors, staff and the need for strategically keeping track of everything. Topcon technologies have helped us maximize efficiencies during exams, maintain the high quality of care that our patients have come to expect and seamlessly teach new staff. These technologies are an essential ingredient of our successful practice growth.
Brittany Degler, OD, is the owner of Riverside Family Eye Care in Fort Myers, Fla. To contact her: drbrittany@