Kara Bonds, OD, opened Bonds Eye Care in Downington, Pennsylvania, in 2010. Since that cold start, her vision for the practice has been to follow a patient-first, technology-driven, superior-service-level environment for all. “I take great pride in differentiating my practice from others in our area,” she says. She accomplishes this through two primary ways.
The goal for her and her staff is to provide superior service to each patient by going above and beyond the typical standards. “We navigate the confusing world of insurance for patients; we give extra reminder calls for patients when they need it. We keep copious notes on each patient interaction so that we always know exactly how we’ve helped so far and what more we can do to help every patient,” she says.
Technology plays an important role in the practice both as clinical support and in terms of patient education and convenience. In addition to diagnostic instruments such as visual field and OCT technologies, “it’s the smaller things we do that create the biggest impact. For example, all of our patient forms are either digital or dry erase and scanned. Even though this is a small thing, it often generates the most buzz,” she says. “I can’t tell you how many times patients comment on how environmentally friendly we are and how we make great use of technology.”
As a clinician, Dr. Bonds relies heavily on the value of the advanced diagnostic technologies, such as her OCT and retinal camera. “While patients may appreciate these technologies, they don’t always understand them, and therefore they aren’t as connected to them as I might be,” she says. “What impresses my patients is often the parts of their experience that they understand and expect.”
So when she was expanding her practice in 2016, adding another exam lane, she thought about ways that she could increase the wow factor in a big way. Specifically, she began to look at digital refraction systems as a way to create a high-tech touchpoint with nearly every patient. “I went to Vision Expo East and met with all the major manufacturers. I also spoke to other doctors about them. Overwhelmingly, doctors who have been using these systems love them. The common theme was that they could never go back to manual,” she recalls.
BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY
She ultimately decided on the Phoroptor® VRx Digital Refraction System from Reichert Technologies for several reasons. “It is the quietest, which is really important when you work in a small, dark and quiet room. It is the most responsive to the control panel. It is also user-friendly. It integrates well with other software and instruments, too.”
As a result of bringing it into her practice, the entire refraction experience for her patients—and for her—has improved. “My refractions are smooth, seamless, very efficient and faster than they were on a manual phoropter. Every day, my patients are most impressed by their new style of refraction,” she says. In addition to wanting to provide patients with a memorable experience, however, she also took a hard look at the bottom line, as she does with any purchase. “Will this item bring value and added revenue?” She notes that the Phoroptor VRx does both—in direct and indirect ways.
“I can easily toggle between the current refraction and any other refraction I wish to compare to. Some doctors call this the ‘money button.’ When a patient can see the difference in his or her vision so easily, the patient is more likely to purchase in our optical.” That results in measurable increases in capture rate and sales volume. Indirectly, the Phoroptor VRx has helped enhance patients’ high level of care. “Patients perceive this way of refraction as the most innovative, new and advanced way to have their vision measured. This impact further enhances their loyalty to our practice and increases retention.”