When Michele Shade-Hinchliffe, OD, was looking to add automated refraction technology to her practice in 2011, she says that her choice was clear: she would work with Marco. “It was relatively new technology then and not a lot of people were using it, so there was no way I was going to go with any other company,” she says.
Investing in technology has been a priority for Dr. Shade for many years since she purchased her practice, now known as Shade Eyecare, in 1994. The business had a long-time history in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, dating back to its establishment in the 1930s. When she acquired it, the office was inside of an old home, which can be charming but also limiting in terms of expansion and modernization. With an accelerated loan, she paid off what she owed over five years, just the amount of time on her lease in that space. Then in 1999, she moved to a bigger office in a strip mall and was ready to start acquiring new technology.
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Marco representative Drew Tucker was a tremendous asset in the early days and continues to be so today. “He’s a wonderful local rep who knows that I like new technology, and he keeps me informed,” Dr. Shade says. “He was helpful in organizing the patient flow and the literal physical space and how the technology would fit.” Tucker made the selection process simple. He lead her toward meeting her goals of making the best use of her space, cutting down on prescription errors and reducing her shoulder pain from many years of repetitive refraction motions. Dr. Shade went with the TRS-5100 from the start in both exam lanes and a TONOREF™ III in pretesting. “The TONOREF is a huge space-saver with the tonometer, autorefractor and keratometer in one instrument down from three.” In addition to providing a high level of measurement accuracy, the slim design was a big benefit.
Relief from pain
After years of working with manual phoropters, Dr. Shade was beginning to feel the stress on her shoulders and neck. The TRS-5100 has a keypad that she can use to control the refraction. Eliminating the shoulder rotations from her routine has relieved the pain she was feeling at the end of each day. The configuration of the system also allows her to spend more time face-to-face with her patients while she smoothly tweaks and makes adjustments to the refractions. She appreciates the toggle switch comparison that lets patients see their old and new prescriptions in a quick comparison. “It’s a time-saver and a wow factor,” she says. “I do not assume that 0.25D change is insignificant. For some people, it makes a huge difference and they want to upgrade their eyeglasses as a result of seeing the comparison.” Patients can make that decision subjectively because they can compare the two directly. By making the exam experience more efficient, Dr. Shade has been able to see additional patients per day.
After just the first few months of having the new system in the office, Dr. Shade says she saw a decrease in transcription errors. “The fact that the prescription goes right into the system and doesn’t need to be keyed in saves time and eliminates errors,” which result in costly remakes and additional frustration to the patients, she says.
The technology continues to be a tremendous asset for the business, building on the advantages of fast, accurate refractions and great patient interactions and providing her time to discuss a fuller range of vision care options and recommendations. With more thorough education, patients may opt for more premium products that better meet their lifestyle needs. “Even though patients have experienced a Marco refraction before, they still like to hear the sounds of the lenses turning on their own,” she says. They also appreciate not having to answer the age-old and stressful question: Which is better?
Looking back on her decision from eight years ago, she has no regrets about bringing the Marco technology into the practice. “I’ve had one repair. The quality is good, and the instrumentation holds up.” Plus, she knows that Marco service is just a phone call away if she ever has a question or concern. That’s a testament, she says, to the company’s reputation.