New tool extends patient education process beyond physicians' walls

June 15, 2008

Many ophthalmologists are familiar with Eyemaginations' 3D-Eye in-office educational tools. Now, a home version is available that lets you extend your patient education reach beyond the walls of your office and into your patients' homes.

Key Points

Many ophthalmologists are familiar with the company's in-office patient education program (3D-Eye Office), which has been available since 1999. The company launched an online product (3D-Eye Online) in 2007 and introduced its latest product, the home version, in April.

The home program consists of computer disks that an ophthalmologist can give his or her patients to take home, or e-mails that link patients to a Web site ( http://www.3D-EyeHome.com/). The patient does need to have access to a computer with certain system requirements, including a broadband Internet connection, to use these tools.

"The [home product] dovetails nicely with the other [of the company's] products," said Cynthia Matossian, MD, Matossian Eye Associates, which has locations in Doylestown, PA, and Ewing and Hamilton, NJ.

"When we start talking about the anatomy of the eye, it's often like we're speaking a foreign language to patients," Dr. Matossian said. "So we've used the [office product] for years, and that has always served to give us a better-educated patient as well as to save us time. Now, I can follow that up with the [home product], which helps patients understand their condition, and their treatment options, on a much deeper level."

"Doctors are their own brand. They're very proud and want to provide an outstanding experience to their patients," Peres said. "We think [the home product] helps continue that experience beyond the four walls of their office."

Another benefit is time savings. The program affords practitioners the opportunity to improve their quality of life by allowing them to leave the office earlier or see one or two additional patients each day. "Doctors won't sacrifice their quality of their care, but the examination room is a very valuable piece of real estate," Peres said.

The program also allows practitioners to easily provide detailed information on premium services, such as LASIK, in which patients may be interested.

Finally, Peres said, the home product provides a link to the doctor that allows extension of his or her brand. "The product is very doctor-branded," he said. "There's an 'about your doctor' section that links the patient to the practice and really extends the office experience by providing a constant presence of the doctor in the patient's home."

The cost of the home program is $249, which includes unlimited use of the program's e-mail tools and Web site, and 200 CDs that patients can take home. Additional CDs are available for an additional cost.

Peres pointed out that the program does have sponsors, including Advanced Medical Optics, Allergan, and Zeiss, for some of its sections. Sponsorships were obtained not only to offer opportunities to the sponsoring companies but also to keep the price low for practitioners.

"We want doctors to feel free to use this program without feeling price resistance," Peres told Ophthalmology Times.

Dr. White agreed. "The key thing I tell other doctors about [the home product] is to use it early and use it often," he said. "The challenge in educating patients is to get in front of them all the information you really want them to have. This program helps us do that."