Home Marco: Diagnostic Solutions Automated Refraction System Allowed Practice to Grow Without Expanding

Automated Refraction System Allowed Practice to Grow Without Expanding

Since its founding in 2007, Northern Sight Vision Clinic in Phillips and Tomahawk, Wisconsin, has been growing. One of the original partners, Jessica Stromberg, OD, brought in Brittany Lemke, OD, in 2013. Dr. Lemke soon bought out Dr. Stromberg’s mother, who was one of the original owners.

The doctors talk about how automated refraction technology has improved efficiency and ability to see patients.
Dr. Stromberg

Dr. Lemke

Dr. Treml

Dr. Stromberg, Dr. Lemke and Dr. Treml

“These are Northern Wisconsin small towns,” says Dr. Lemke. Associate Lauren Treml, OD, works at the Tomahawk location, and the two partners each spend two different days each week at each location.

About 10 years ago, the doctors started feeling the pinch for space. “We added electronic health records in 2014,” Dr. Lemke says. That helped reclaim some of the space that had been dedicated to paper charts, but it still felt a little crowded. “We were considering purchasing another exam lane, but a Vision Source® colleague recommended that we install the TRS automated refraction system from Marco first,” she says.

The doctor did that – and it brought relief. “We were doing accurate refractions so much faster, and we were able to show patients with the click of a button what their current eyeglasses prescription was and what a new prescription would look like,” she says. The result was that patients were able to spend quality time in the exam lane, with the doctor discussing important ocular health issues, and get into the optical more quickly.

Marco automated refraction technology
Marco TRS

In fact, this measure allowed them to work in their small Tomahawk location for an additional three years before they moved to a larger space in 2017. The goal was to see more patients in a day – and it worked. The pretest technicians upload information to the TRS system, and the doctors finalize the refractions. “Usually, while I’m refracting, I can also work on the charting and talk with the patient. It’s a good time-saver,” she says

Today, both locations have two exam lanes, and all for are equipped with the Marco TRS-6100. “It helps with our efficiency. It was imperative to have the Marco technology in both lanes,” she says.


It has been important to these providers that patients in these small communities have access to the same level of care that they could get in larger cities. Indeed, their mission statement says the practice is committed to improving “the quality of our patients’ lives by providing state-of-the-art eye health and vision care.” They do so by maintaining high standards, incorporating technology and pursuing education and the best products. “It’s exciting to see our mission statement come to life. Patients comment all the time on the technology.”

They appreciate that they don’t have to answer the old “which is better” questions that stressed them. “I attended a seminar where the speaker pointed out how many questions a patient is asked before the patient reaches the exam room. If we can make it faster and let the patient feel calmer, that’s a better experience. I can assure them that they will not give any wrong answers and that I’ll double- and triple-check the refraction,” she says.


Dr. Stromberg and Dr. Lemke at a Wisconsin Optometric Association meeting

The doctors and staff have by now used every nook and cranny of space in their Phillips location, so they’ll be remodeling. That plan includes adding the layout for a third exam lane if they need it in the future.

By making sure that they can provide patients with fast, accurate prescriptions, they can maximize the time they have with each patients and bring more patients into the practice. “We see patients from the surrounding area. Around here, patients are accustomed to traveling for health care. If they need a specialist, they’ll need to commute for an hour,” she says. So it’s important that they can bring patients in as quickly as possible. The ability to exceed patient expectations has been the major contributor to the practice’s growth in the past – and it will be in the future, too, Dr. Lemke says.

Let Me Walk You to the Optical

Dr. Brittany Lemke loves to style patients for their new eyes. First of all, it’s a great small-town touch, but it also provides another opportunity to make a connection with the patient. “I’m the one who has established what they do during the day and what their free-time activities are. I enjoy the retail experience, too,” she says.

Plus, it only takes a moment. “In just a few minutes, I can pull a few frames and make some comments, such as ‘I love this color on you.’ Hearing it from me is an invitation to find something fresh,” she says.

The optical staff can take over, but Dr. Lemke says the transition from exam room to the optical is enjoyable for both the doctor and the patient.

Read other stories from WO about women ODs using Marco technology to improve their efficiency and patient experience.

Visit Northern Sight Vision Clinic here.

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