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SPOTLIGHT ON TECHNOLOGY & TECHNIQUE

Patient-ed products called ‘mission critical’

CheckedUp’s latest informs patients while they wait.

A new addition to the CheckedUp line of patient education and service products, CheckedUp Explorer, is saving ophthalmologists time, leading to an increase in premium procedure conversions and reinforcing patient education content available on CheckedUp’s other platforms.

“It is a very nice addition to my waiting room,” says Jesse Pelletier, MD, FACS, cataract, cornea, and refractive surgery specialist, Ocean Ophthalmology Group in North Miami Beach, Fla. “Patients are better informed and empowered, potentially enhancing the patient-doctor relationship because it is now founded on trust and understanding.”

A BETTER-INFORMED PATIENT

CheckedUp, based in Miami and New York City, is a technology-based company which focuses that technology on improving patient interaction with the practice. Its Engage product, for example, gives the patient information, via a tablet, about his malady in the exam room and lets the patient share what treatment options he prefers with staff.

CheckedUp’s latest product, Explorer, educates patients about ophthalmic-related issues in their physicians’ waiting room.

Dr. Pelletier uses the other CheckedUp products such as Engage, Consult, Reach, and Manage. He estimates that his premium procedure conversion rate has doubled, from 15% to 30%, since acquiring the CheckedUp products last December. “More patients are inquiring about femtosecond laser cataract surgery or premium IOLs [intraocular lenses] or both,” says Dr. Pelletier.

As the newest offering from CheckedUp, Explorer provides a one-to-many educational stream of information that is ophthalmology-specific. While in the waiting room, patients and family members can learn about causes and symptoms of conditions like dry eye or about cataract surgery.

Explorer invites viewers to use their devices to text a specific number, for example, to obtain more information about a condition and possible treatments. A ticker runs along the screen’s bottom, providing information about local weather and news updates.

Explorer also allows ophthalmologists to promote their practice and the procedures they offer using videos and custom commercial spots.

“You can incorporate elements about yourself and your practice,” says Jennifer Loh, MD, a cataract and refractive surgeon in Miami, who viewed the technology at ASCRS in May.

Dr. Loh uses Engage. Because she shares office space, she has not purchased Explorer. Dr. Loh has a 66.7% premium cataract surgery rate, meaning 66.7% of cataract surgeries performed are either laser cataract surgery or involve premium IOLs or both. “I have had CheckedUp Engage since almost the beginning of opening my practice,” says Dr. Loh. “I definitely attribute the high rate to CheckedUp. It explains things [to my patients] better than I can.”

Both Dr. Loh and Dr. Pelletier see the bilingual content (English and Spanish) that CheckedUp offers as a benefit in a geographic region where a good proportion of patients speak Spanish as a first language.

MORE TIME, MORE PATIENTS

Dr. Pelletier sees other benefits from CheckedUp, such as having more time to discuss those rarer clinical issues, like a complex corneal situation, and less time to discuss the more common, such as cataract surgery.

The patient education that the CheckedUp products provide allow Dr. Pelletier to see anywhere from five to 10 more patients per day. “It helps us to maintain office flow and stay on schedule,” says Dr. Pelletier. “Patients can be doing many other things rather than sitting in your waiting room, so it is important for us as providers to respect their time.”

Seattle ophthalmologist Audrey Talley Rostov, MD, Northwest Eye Surgeons, described the CheckedUp products as “mission critical” to getting through a clinical day. Dr. Talley Rostov started using Engage, Reach and Manage in 2016; Explorer is on its way. The number of premium procedures she performed on a monthly basis prior to adoption of CheckedUp was 11; that figure is now 15.5 post-adoption, reflecting an annual revenue increase of $64,800.

Dr. Talley Rostov estimates that she can see an additional five patients daily because the patient education offered shortens the face-to-face patient visits and makes the encounter more focused and efficient.

“For me, it’s about being able to see more patients,” says Dr. Talley Rostov, who has been in practice for more than 20 years. “It can save me up to 20 minutes per patient. Patients do not feel that their time was wasted [in the waiting room].”

CheckedUp products also provide accuracy in communication, says Patti Barkey, COE, the CEO of Bowden Eye and Associates, Jacksonville, Fla.

“These tools are important in educating patients,” says Ms. Barkey, whose practice has all the CheckedUp products and helped develop dry eye components of the educational modules. “They create a consistent message for [them].” Employees can put their “own spin” on the facts, and patients and family members then hear different messages and possible inconsistencies. “With a tool like CheckedUp, you can control the message.”

Patients can also be e-mailed CheckedUp videos that they can view at home before and after seeing their ophthalmologist, allowing other family members to see the information. OM

The physicians interviewed report no relevant financial disclosures.