The practice of tomorrow today

September 15, 2007

Integrating the technology in a private practice is an investment in money and time, but the payoff is worth it, according to one ophthalmologist who recently upgraded his office. Here?s how he did it.

Keypoints:









Architect of dreams

"We created a turnkey system for the doctor's office," Chace said, adding that the idea came from a meeting 3 years ago with a Florida retina specialist who wanted the ability to view images throughout his office. That discussion and initial system led to the latest version in Dr. Mallon's office.

"By giving them the best tools we can for the craft, in some small way we're helping someone see better," Chace explained.

Chace calls himself the "architect" of the plan but credits DiFiore with a commitment to helping customers realize the vision that would allow physicians to "see everything anywhere."

Using Dr. Mallon's original blueprints for the new space, Chace worked with DiFiore and Zeiss to enable the doctor to streamline the office and make patient flow smoother.

"I took his vision along with the Zeiss equipment and put it together," Chace said. "We were the Michelangelos, the [information technology (IT)] guys."

In July 2006, Dr. Mallon opened the new office and surgery center. Each exam room contains a computer screen that allows Dr. Mallon to pull up a patient chart, show patients the results of scans they had minutes earlier, and better educate patients about their eye health. The office also is set up for the future use of electronic medical records.

In the surgery suites, Dr. Mallon has state-of-the-art microscopes and video capability that allows him to burn a DVD of a cataract surgery and send it home with the patient, or broadcast a surgery over the Internet. He can access his office through a network server and review patient data from home. Referring doctors also can have access to any tests he performs, so no repeat testing is necessary.

"Patient education is a big part of it," Dr. Mallon said. "That has changed my office in terms of improving patient flow."