Leveraging Technology to Drive Premium Offerings

2 January 2024
Omar Shakir, MD, MBA
About the expert Yuri McKee, MD Dr. McKee is a cornea and refractive surgeon and medical director at East Valley Ophthalmology in Mesa, Arizona.

Cataract surgeons, like myself, who offer premium IOLs must strike a delicate balance: while we must offer patients the proper IOL options to maximize the potential for patient satisfaction, we risk overwhelming the patient with too much information—thereby creating choice paralysis wherein too many patients default to a standard lens. As such, we as conscientious surgeons who seek to educate our patients may, in fact, act counterproductively to our patient’s needs if we aren’t able to balance these competing dynamics.

If you aim to improve your patients understanding of premium IOL offerings, then consider integrating ZEISS VERACITY Surgery Planner into your surgical consults. A quick before-and-after comparison illustrates how including this technology in my conversations with patients led to customized recommendations, clearer choices for patients, and improved adoption of the most cutting-edge innovations our field has to offer—all of which resulted in more satisfied patients with refined outcomes.

Before: The Traditional Approach

Before the era of ZEISS VERACITY Surgery Planner, the means for selecting IOL recommendations for patients were analog and cumbersome. After capturing biometry data and asking patients a handful of boilerplate questions about their visual expectations, I typically offered several IOL options. This approach lead to more patients opting for conventional monofocal technology that left them with reliable outcomes, but unnecessary dependance on spectacles.

Deluged with an overabundance of IOL choices and an expectation that they promptly choose an IOL, too many patients may default to standard IOL technology. Such patients left the clinic with adequate vision, but they often failed to realize the benefits of the latest technology.

After: The Modern Approach

Welcome to the era of efficient, data-driven, and patient-specific IOL consultations. ZEISS VERACITY Surgery Planner empowers me to make specific premium IOL recommendations to patients, cutting through the noise that leads to choice paralysis, better educating patients on the benefits of each lens, and elevating my patients’ postoperative satisfaction. Let’s see how it works in my clinic.

All cataract referrals begin with optimization of the tear film; as someone who practices in Arizona, nearly all of my patients have some degree of dry eye upon presentation. I educate patients about any relevant conditions (eg, astigmatism). I also perform endothelial cell counts and conduct a macular OCT to ensure that the patient is eligible for a premium lens. After educating patients about the benefits of each possible IOL, I advise that they consider each option at home during the next 2 weeks. This buffer period places choice in patients’ hands while eliminating the pressure to choose a lens quickly. After some thought, patients typically return with enthusiasm about a premium product.

When they return from their ocular surface tune-up period, I capture all biometric data and have patients complete an integrated questionnaire regarding their desired refractive outcomes. At this follow-up visit I explain to the patient that I use ZEISS VERACITY Surgery Planner to guide me toward recommendations customized to the patient’s anatomy and preferences. Next, I walk through their responses to questions that they have selected in the software which are most relevant to my clinical decision-making (eg, Do you want near vision, distance vision, or both? Do you have a history of monovision? Have you had LASIK?).

Armed with biometric data and patient preferences, ZEISS VERACITY Surgery Planner suggests a few IOLs that may be best for the patient. If any recommendations stand out as inappropriate for that particular patient, I strike them from the list; likewise, if I think that the algorithm has overlooked a potential option, I’ll add it to the menu. I have high confidence that the IOLs offered to the patient are right for them, because I know that while I relied on an algorithm to cull the herd of options, I also used my clinical judgement to adjust the decision tree and to eliminate options that aren’t a good fit. A key component of this process is the “Predicted final refraction” function of ZEISS VERACITY. I find this prediction to be very accurate and it allows me to show patients how much correction they can expect in spectacles based on certain IOL choices. This customized consultation is key: because educated, confident patients have higher levels of buy-in, they are more likely to experience postoperative satisfaction when adopting the most precise technology available.

In addition to producing a higher percentage of educated and satisfied patients, ZEISS VERACITY Surgery Planner has helped me realize elevated levels of premium IOL placement. After I unlocked the power of ZEISS VERACITY to assist me in IOL consultations, I estimate that 65% of my patients have opted for premium technology. Prior to using this technology, the rate of premium IOL adoption in my clinic was closer to 15%.

All About the Patient

For many patients, choosing whether a premium IOL is right for them is the biggest medical decision they’ve made. Merely leaning on an algorithm to make a decision is too impersonal, and relying solely on a surgeon to offer a myriad of options leads to indecision. However, with ZEISS VERACITY Surgery Planner at my side, I offer effective, patient-optimized options to my patients, leaving it to them to choose which of our cutting-edge technologies are the best fit for their lives.

The statements of the author reflect only his personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any institution with whom he is affiliated.
The author has a contractual or other financial relationship with Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc. and has received financial support.

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