IntraLase laser offers improved business, clinical aspects for practices

October 14, 2005

Pointing out how refractive surgeons can improve both the business and clinical sides of their practices by utilizing the IntraLase femtosecond laser, Robert Palmisano, president and chief executive officer of IntraLase Corp. (Booth 3507), outlined the state of the company during a press briefing Friday morning.

Chicago-Pointing out how refractive surgeons can improve both the business and clinical sides of their practices by utilizing the IntraLase femtosecond laser, Robert Palmisano, president and chief executive officer of IntraLase Corp. (Booth 3507), outlined the state of the company during a press briefing Friday morning.

Palmisano shared the podium with Steven Slade, MD, of Houston, and Richard Lindstrom, MD, of Minneapolis. Palmisano discussed the business aspects, while Drs. Slade and Lindstrom discussed the medical aspects.

Palmisano reviewed the findings of a recent customer survey conducted by SM2 Consulting, which showed that physicians using the IntraLase laser improved the bottom line of their practices. “It’s very favorable economics,” he said.

The survey showed that the average fee increase for practices with an IntraLase laser was $350 per patient across the board, and higher for physicians who were at a lower price point. The survey also showed IntraLase surgeons increased the number of their procedures (15% on average), while average price increases were 22%, and overall revenue increases were 41%.

Palmisano added the results showed that when physicians incorporated an IntraLase laser into their practice, they were using the technology 88% of the time. The survey also found that physicians who marketed the laser had an impact on their closure rates. Prior to IntraLase, 65% of 100 potential patients underwent LASIK. With IntraLase, closure rates increased to 78% of 100 potential patients.

Palmisano then discussed the growth of IntraLase as a global company. IntraLase has a presence in 22 countries. In addition, the company recently received approval to market the laser in China and hopes to move into South America early next year.

Worldwide, IntraLase has units in 3,230 practices outside the United States and in 1,270 practices in the United States.

Dr. Slade explained how physicians can now customize the flap using the IntraLase laser. He said the custom flaps offer perfect centration, true diameter, controlled depth, true lamellar flap, shaped edge, and adjustable hinge position. Custom flaps offer several advantages, including 40% small diameters (from 7 to 9 mm), reduced surgical time, less suction time, potentially reduced dry eye, and increased structural integrity. Dr. Slade concluded that more studies are needed on customized flaps.

Dr. Lindstrom said he was not an enthusiastic believer in the IntraLase laser when it became available commercially. Since then, he and his practice, Minnesota Eye Consultants, have turned 180° in favor of the unit after conducting an in-practice study of its patients.

Dr. Lindstrom found that the IntraLase laser has produced better visual acuity outcomes, lowered complication rates, increased practice revenues, improved the practice’s LASIK volume, and resulted in better flap thicknesses for patients.

“Surgeons are happy; patients are happy,” Dr. Lindstrom said. “There is less stress on the physicians and patients are less nervous.”