• Education software program designed to inform potential premium lens patients about their options. Uses real-life scenarios that allow surgical counselors to explain the visual effects of progressing from normal vision to presbyopia to cataracts, and how patients would see through standard monofocal IOLs versus presbyopia-correcting IOLs
• Includes Dr. Steven Dell’s vision assessment questionnaire, the IOL Counselor software, the IOL acceptance form, an overview patient education video, a tutorial video to train counselors, and a tutorial video to explain how to activate the IOL Counselor
• Using CareCredit’s payment calculator, patients are provided several low payment options while viewing the simulated images of the presbyopia-correcting IOL; if interested in financing, they can be instantly linked to CareCredit’s online pre-approval website
Figure 1: Surgeon and IOL fees are incorporated into the IOL Counselor using CareCredit payment plans to make discussing fees easier for cataract counselors not trained in refractive sales techniques.
The IOL Counselor is a computer-based education tool designed to educate potential premium lens patients about their options, and to explain in a visual presentation just what is affecting their vision, including simulations for presbyopia, astigmatism and general cataract.
The IOL Counselor includes a vision assessment questionnaire (VAQ) that patients complete before their first physician consultation, a 6-minute patient video, numerous IOL simulated scenarios, and a “how to use” tutorial for the IOL counselors. The program also incorporates CareCredit’s financing module to ease discussions about the cost of the lens by incorporating payment plan options.
The VAQ is based on Dr. Steven Dell’s questionnaire and quantifies the patient’s lifestyle and personality. Based on responses, the practice’s surgical counselors can use the information to more easily explain the premium lens options available to the patient.
According to Robert Watson, developer of the software (Patient Education Concepts in Houston, Texas, in partnership with Eyeland Design Network in Germany), there are about 2,500 active practices using the IOL Counselor, with about 100 to 200 new practices coming on board each month.
“We have conducted numerous Webinars about the IOL Counselor and had guest speakers from various practices,” Mr. Watson said. Since its beta-testing last year at the Lehmann Eye Center (Nacogdoches, Texas), Cincinnati Eye Institute (Ohio), the Pepose Vision Institute (St. Louis), the Mann Eye Institute and Laser Center (Houston) and the Kirk Eye Center (Chicago), Mr. Watson said the program is now available in multiple languages, including French (both Canadian and European versions), Portuguese, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese and Russian. It is now available in a Web version in addition to the original DVD version.
The IOL Counselor was funded by an unrestricted educational grant from Advanced Medical Optics (Santa Ana, Calif.) and Alcon Laboratories (Fort Worth, Texas), with additional sponsorship from CareCredit, a GE Money Company (Costa Mesa, Calif.).
Simulator pages let patients evaluate how a monofocal IOL compares to a presbyopia-correcting IOL in side-by-side computerized screens emulating typical real-life scenes. Current scenarios include a supermarket, a baseball field and a city street from a driver’s perspective.
The software allows the user (typically the surgical counselor) to take patients through the scene, highlighting what “normal” vision is, compared to how they probably see with either presbyopia or cataract. Then the surgical counselor can move the icons to show patients the differences between a monofocal IOL outcome and a presbyopia-correcting IOL outcome. There is an option for patients to view simulated surgery as well.
Mr. Watson said additional scenes will be introduced over the next few months that “will allow individual practices to purchase scenes that are more geographically relevant to their patients.” Patient Education Concepts is also customizing posters, DVDs and CDs/videos for the practices, with physician bios, contact information and links to the practice website.
While the IOL Counselor currently highlights only multifocal lenses, he hopes simulations explaining toric IOLs will be available for demonstration at this year’s American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting.
Initial practice success
According to Mr. Watson, the IOL Counselor helped all the beta sites increase their patient conversion rates. Pepose Vision Institute had been converting about 30% of its eligible patients before implementing the IOL Counselor; in the first three months of use, the conversion rate increased to 50%. At the end of last year, conversion rates for December were closer to 80%, Mr. Watson said. While some practices increased conversion rates from 5 to 33%, most increased conversion rates from 30 to 60%.