Janet Mint, OD, had a specific plan when she started her practice cold in 1996. She brought experience from practicing in two ophthalmology offices over the course of 12 years before she set out on her own. “Working in ophthalmology is great,” she says. “You are busy with a lot of patient encounters, and you learn a lot when there are other doctors with whom to discuss cases.” But she says that, in her heart, she knew that she wanted to be independent for the next leg of her career. “I wanted to build equity in a business.”
With her vision mapped out, she opened her doors in a developing area of Jacksonville, Florida. There weren’t even places to get lunch nearby when she got her start, she says, laughing. But her office was equipped and ready for patients, thanks to Marco. “I met David Marco in the early 80s [when working in ophthalmology],” Dr. Mint says. “When I established my practice, there was no question in my mind what equipment I would buy.”
Dr. Mint started out basic with chairs, stands, phoropters and slit lamps from Marco. In 2000, she made the upgrade to the ePIC refraction system. “The area was blossoming, and I was booked out with patients for three months because I was doing so much by myself,” Dr. Mint recalls. At a SECO meeting that year, she met with David Marco again. “He had sold many EPIC systems to high-volume, multidoctor practices, but he said that he could show me how I, as a solo practitioner, could benefit.” Dr. Mint decided to trust him in the investment, and it really paid off. “Once we got through the learning curve, we were able to double the number of comprehensive exams I could do in one day,” she says.
The team at Marco trained her staff so that she could delegate refraction responsibilities. Refractions move to the pretesting area, and the results are in before the patient even comes to the exam room. “Some doctors think that in order to see more patients, they need to redesign the office or add more space,” Dr. Mint says, adding that she disagrees. “You can increase your efficiency and productivity using a system like the EPIC.”
As new instrumentation was released, Dr. Mint was quick to keep up. She sold her autorefractor in 2004 and upgraded to the OPD wavefront system from Marco. “Patients are impressed by how the wavefront technology measures so many data points on the eye and blends that information to come up with a very accurate starting point for their prescription,” Dr. Mint says. “Some patients get so stressed about, ‘Which is better: 1 or 2?’ but when you can zero in on that number, the speed and ease are comforting to the patient.” She can bring up the results on her screen in the exam room and help patients understand a little more about the complexity of their vision.
The accurate starting point is just one of the benefits that Dr. Mint has realized over the past decade with Marco technology in her practice. Dr. Mint can dedicate her time in the exam room to customize the prescription for each individual based on the most appropriate focal points for computer use, driving, career and hobbies. “It all starts with the prescription that the technician and the patient determine,” Dr. Mint says. More accurate prescriptions result in fewer remakes.
Dr. Mint’s long-time dedication to patient education and keeping up with technology doesn’t go without notice. She’s even had patients who have moved to other states return to her office for their eye care. “They told me, ‘We feel like you were taking the best care of our eyes,’ and it puts it all in perspective that technology really does make a difference,” Dr. Mint says.
There’s always something new to learn about the capabilities of her technology from Marco, and Dr. Mint says that the Marco support staff has always been there through software updates and whenever she has a question. “The amount of information you can extract from these systems is mind-boggling,” she says. “It’s exciting to keep learning and helping patients solve their problems. It makes it exciting to be practicing for a long time. The day you think you know it all, you might as well quit.”