Home Building a Specialty AI-powered Programs Can Bring Smarter Workflow to Practice

AI-powered Programs Can Bring Smarter Workflow to Practice

Dr. Brianna Rhue in maroon blouse, talking about AI in practice
Dr. Rhue

Optometrists are sitting on a goldmine of patient data, says Brianna Rhue, OD, FAAO, FSLS, co-founder of Dr. Contact Lens. Eye care professionals can use—and may already be using—artificial intelligence (AI) to benefit their practices and enhance the delivery of care and not even know it.

Dr. Jennifer tabiza understands AI
Dr. Tabiza

Dr. Brianna Rhue and Jennifer Tabiza, OD, co-founded Dr. Contact Lens, a contact lens-ordering platform when they saw a need in their optometric practices to provide patients an easier way to order their contact lenses. Finding nothing that matched what they wanted, they built their own and have shared it with OD’s who have an abundant mindset and are looking past rebates and discounts. They are also relaunching Techifeye, which brings technology companies together to help practices thrive in this digital age.

Dr. Contact Lens is a solution that makes it easy for patients to order and re-order their contact lenses on a platform that keeps patient data solely inside the practice. Practices use it to increase engagement with patients and send reminders, digital copies of patients’ prescriptions and other messages while keeping the patients ordering from their practice.


AI can seem like a brave new frontier for some practitioners, but Dr. Rhue, who attended the Vision Monday Leadership Summit –What’s Your AI Acuity—earlier this year, says that it’s already here. Part of the challenge is making sure that our team members recognize their role in making it successful and that they are a huge part of the practice staying ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing new things as we all continue to evolve.

AI is based on data. “If team members can see the connection between the data they enter and understand how that can impact capture rate because of the machine learning that goes on in the background, it can and will elevate their role.” In other words, double data entry right now is a heavy lift and is seen as a have to “task” right now. This has to change and is part of the process for working smarter not harder. We need to be concentrating on patients in front of us not going here and there to save a buck while having our team do double data entry or even worse having patients subscribe themselves.


Just as AI powers the algorithms for your social media accounts to feed you advertisements for certain products based on your browsing history, AI powers the data for practice metrics. That means doctors and managers are not spending as much time on tasks that they used to do manually or worse skip. This includes reminder calls to reorder contact lenses or scan records for notes on which patients were interested in a particular product, for example.

It can also mean less time on the phone making or answering these types of  calls. “We waste approximately eight minutes on every phone call when a patient calls us to place their contact lens order,” Dr. Rhue says. If a potential new patient happens to call during that time and gets diverted to a message system, the chance of the patient calling back drops to 5%. So why are we wasting money on SEO when we do not focus properly on incoming calls. As we live in a self service world our patients are no different so where are areas in your practice that patients can self service themselves while you keep them in your ecosystem?


She argues that patients are not going to think less of a practice that incorporates AI, if patients even notice it all. “It will actually show that the practice is driving innovation because of the efficiencies and is differentiating the patient experience for their benefit,” she says. “Patients see a practice that allows them to order contact lenses at their preferred time and place as more progressive compared to one where they leave a message and wait for a call back,” she says.

Adding new programs can be challenging for team members, so Dr. Rhue says it is important that practice owners show enthusiasm, make the team  part of implementation and follow up on adoption. “It’s easy for staff to be pessimistic about change. But I say that optimism requires you to do something. Pessimism is staying with the status quo, while optimism is going outside of our comfort zones to bring us forward in terms of improved adherence or whatever goal we have set for ourselves, our team and our practices.” Looking at this as an evolution versus change can also help lessen the burden as the word evolution provokes a positive emotion versus change which evokes a negative emotion. She advises to be picky with the words you use with your team when implementing new equipment, new processes and new solutions.

The industry is continually innovating, she says. “Pick one thing each quarter to implement and go for it!  It’s not AI that will take your job–but someone who knows how to use AI might,” she says.

Read how one OD is using AI in his practice to improve patient messaging.

Are you using AI in your practice? Send us an email to tell us more.

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