MAR 2014

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

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Page 125 of 210

E W FEATURE 1 23 D r. Gills doesn't directly market the femto laser, either. "The technol- ogy sells itself," he said. "Most of our patients want the femto if they can afford it." St. Luke's keeps the femto laser right outside the OR to minimize the amount of time the laser adds to the overall cataract surgery. " If 30% of our patients are femto, the OR runs smoothly. Our speed is impacted if it's more than that," he said. Conversely, "I won't do a lens- based surgery unless I'm using the laser," Dr. Gordon said. "It's the best option for any patient. If the patient has a cataract with no need for astig- m atism correction and only wants insurance to pay for it, I'll send the patient to one of my partners. A full 80% of our lens surgeries are done with the laser." Dr. Gordon's Baby Boomer patients—who had undergone laser vision correction 10 or 15 years ago—"are all coming in now want- ing to know what the latest technol- ogy can offer them." In Florida, Dr. Gills takes a slightly different approach, by categorizing people into what their needs are and how flexible they are regarding postop spectacle use. Where to start Dr. Gills said rather than promote o r market the femto laser itself, his practice markets technology in gen- eral. "We reinforce that the practice is up to date on technology and call it 'bladeless cataract surgery.' It goes along with our general push of experience with the best technol- ogy," he said. M ark Kontos, MD, in private practice, Empire Eye, Spokane, Wash., and Hayden, Idaho, intro- duces the concept of advanced cataract surgery early in the patient evaluation. "We integrate the laser into that overall conversation by noting pa- tients have the option of going be- yond conventional surgery," he said. "We want them to maintain some independence in the decision, so we discuss the three options we currently have. First, the ability to see but still rely on glasses for some tasks; second, the ability to see without glasses for distance but need them for near; and third, the most independence from glasses we can offer. The femto comes into play with both of those last options." For some patients, that may mean conventional surgery with a conven- tional lens and a laser for AKs, he said. Dr. Thompson cautions physi- cians that refractive surgery market- ing is "much more common and c onsiderably less complex" than re- fractive cataract surgery marketing, adding he does not feel comfortable marketing the laser against tradi- tional cataract surgery. "I prefer to educate patients about their options in how cataract surgery is performed, what en- hanced intraoperative aberrometry c an do, how their implant choice will affect their spectacle use postop. We let patients know we perform all options at our center." In his practice, the staff was particularly excited about being one of the first to have the femto laser and "the whole office feels like we're doing the most advanced cataract surgery possible and we're very proud of that." Marketing to ODs Dr. Kontos said his practice has al- ways been a "historically strong op- tometric referral practice" beginning in the 1980s. It made logical sense, then, to start their marketing efforts with educating the ODs who would be referring patients. "We brought in people from other areas who also had experience with the laser. We invited ophthal- mologists as well as our referring p artners; we had about 110 op- tometrists in the audience at our first continuing medical education event. We used it as a kickoff to show what we're doing and how the patient could benefit, and what to expect during the co-management period." Dr. Thompson queried referring d octors to determine what type of cataract surgery they would prefer. "More than 200 of our referring doctors wanted laser-assisted cataract surgery instead of the traditional options," he said. That, in turn, made "selling" the laser considerably easier. Dr. Gordon also thinks seminars a re an excellent starting point in a marketing campaign. "Seminars continue to work if there's something truly new in the office," he said. "We want our referring doctors to be the first people to hear about our newest offerings," Dr. Kontos said. "Our first laser patient was an OD's father. Those types of things work well for our marketing, and it helps bind our relationship to the ODs, so they don't get caught off guard when a patient asks about some technology." In his region, some practices are a bit more conservative about integrating newer technology, and February 2011 March 2014 xxx Poll size: 219 EyeWorld Monthly Pulse EyeWorld Monthly Pulse is a reader survey on trends and patterns for the practicing ophthalmologist. Each month we send a four-question online survey covering different topics so our readers can see how they compare to our survey. If you would like to join the hundreds of physicians who take a minute a month to share their views, please send us an email and we will add your name. Email carly@eyeworld.org and put EW Pulse in the subject line—that's all it takes. Copyright EyeWorld 2014 continued on page 124 108-125 Feature_EW March 2014-DL2_Layout 1 3/6/14 3:59 PM Page 123

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