By Davis Capaccioli, OD
Feb. 16, 2022
Visual field (VF) testing plays an essential role in the diagnosis and management of eye conditions including glaucoma. Your patients in need of perimetry may have physical limitations that make the traditional way of performing this exam difficult. Patient attention spans can also be limited, leading to lower test engagement and unreliable results. Additionally, legacy diagnostic equipment used for visual field testing is bulky, costly and the tests are time-consuming.
Heru has changed the health and wellness landscape with its new diagnostic tool which leverages commercially available AR/VR head-mounted displays. The Heru platform performs six vision diagnostic exams, including suprathreshold and full threshold visual fields. Heru has provided my practice an advantage and the flexibility I need to effectively diagnose and manage progressive eye conditions like glaucoma.
New Practice, New Technology
I opened my practice in October 2021 and wanted to position myself as a state-of-the art facility, with the latest diagnostic technology that enhances patient care. I based my decision to implement the Heru platform on three important factors:
Reputation. As a new practice, I wanted to “wow” my patients with cutting-edge technology. Branding my practice as one that utilizes advanced diagnostic technology to screen, diagnose and manage progressive eye conditions was critical to building my reputation in the community. Technology is progressing rapidly, and patients appreciate healthcare that is keeping up with the rest of the tech world. Embracing new technology encourages patients to ask questions about their care, and hopefully encourages a conversation with friends and family outside of my practice, increasing word-of-mouth referrals.
Budget. As a cold start, I needed to keep my initial investments in new diagnostic equipment low, while building my brand. I found the Heru platform to be a financially feasible addition to my practice with the potential for great benefit to my patients. In fact, it was, by far, a more economical choice than purchasing legacy diagnostic devices.
Space. When designing my space with all the testing equipment that I wanted to bring in, I really liked that Heru has a minimal footprint and does not require a dedicated dark room. The technology’s portability is a huge advantage, as I have limited space in my pre-testing area. If there are patients being worked up there, the device can easily be transferred from the pre-test room to an exam room or vice versa. This helps achieve my goal of keeping patient wait times to a minimum. Moreover, this technology can be used to manage any condition that requires visual field testing. That includes glaucoma and other optic neuropathies, hydroxychloroquine toxicity, artery and vein occlusions, or any other conditions where visual fields are indicated.
Improving the Patient Experience
The Heru platform is much more comfortable for the patient to use than legacy technology which requires them to keep their head leaning forward in an awkward position. This can be especially challenging for elderly patients or those with mobility issues.
As Heru is wearable, patients can sit comfortably anywhere in the practice during their exam. It is easy for them to put on the headset, but a doctor or technician will need to help position it. My patients rave about how much more they enjoy a visual field with the Heru device than with legacy technology. Patients dread visual field testing, but now with Heru they view it as an enjoyable, interactive, new experience. They are thrilled to learn that they will not have to put their head in a “big white bowl.”
Enhanced Testing Accuracy & Patient Care
Diagnostic screening with Heru is fast and significantly more engaging. The onboard virtual Heru guide monitors and instructs the patient, keeping them focused throughout the exam. Heru’s ActiveTrack™ real-time gaze tracking system confirms the patient’s fixation is always appropriate, providing accurate and repeatable results. When I used to bring a patient back for a glaucoma work-up using the old technology, that first visual field was usually unreliable as the patient was learning how to do the test and stay focused. With Heru, the initial results are more reliable, allowing me to use the data in my clinical decision-making on whether to initiate treatment.
When evaluating reliability and data quality, the results of a recent study found that Heru visual field tests strongly correlate with the Humphrey SITA Standard across the dynamic range, leading me to trust the results.
Invest in Advanced Technology
As medical eyecare continues to expand in importance for optometrists, investing in advanced technology like the Heru platform is a tremendous benefit, both in how you provide patient care and how you position your practice.
The company is continually innovating, having recently announced the addition of several new exams to the platform providing me with ways to increase my practice revenue. As a cold start, I am trying to keep my overhead low, but will add color vision screening, contrast sensitivity testing and dark adaptation as my patient base grows. Having one device that I can use for multiple billable exams is very exciting. The Heru platform is a win for my practice and a win for my patients whose experience and care is enhanced by wearable diagnostic technology.
|Davis Capaccioli, OD, is the owner of Peak Eyecare in Durango, Colo. To contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org|