In this episode of the Make Marketing Easy Podcast, host Joel Gaslin sits down with Bill Wiley, MD of the Cleveland Eye Clinic and Amnon Keynan of Surgiorithm. Bill Wiley is a cataract and refractive surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio. Amnon Keynan is the CEO of Surgiorithm, which is a digital communication platform for educating patients and informing doctors. In this episode, these three professionals discuss the commercialization of the eye care industry, the growing need for cataract surgeries, and the future of technology in healthcare.
Bill Wiley, MD discusses the shift in focus in practices
Joel and Bill kickstart the conversation by discussing a shift in the focus of many physicians. This is the shift from the internal, or back of house tasks, to the external, or front of house consumer experience. Physicians today are striving to understand and improve the consumer experience like never before, and this is leading to the development and integration of new technology. But as they discuss, the industry still has a long way to go.
Surgiorithm analyzes a process and improves over time
One of the current problems in the world of eye care is that doctors are experiencing an influx of patients who need cataract surgery and subsequently need to be educated about the procedure, vision options, payment options, and quality-of-life expectations. This education is crucial to both alleviate stress from the patient and sell the procedure as a whole. But how can doctors handle this influx of work without spending countless hours in the chair? According to Amnon, Surgiorithm is currently alleviating these issues through cloud-based technologies that educate patients, informs surgeons, and provides a holistic analysis of the upgrade process. In doing so, Amnon discusses the story of Surgiorithm, explains the software’s predictive algorithms, and walks through the Surgiorithm process from the patient and surgeon’s perspectives.
The future is bright for software to help doctors with engagement in ophthalmology
As the conversation ends, Bill Wiley and Amnon Keynan discuss the future of technological integration in the health industry. One of the core needs, according to Amnon, is for the development of personalized patient experiences. In addition, they discuss the importance of having digital resources like mobile apps for educating patients at home rather than in the office. Finally, Bill calls for the healthcare industry to move from simply using technology to schedule, bill, and track patients health to use it for actually raising the standards of the medical services being offered. Altogether, Bill and Amnon’s dialogue showcases their expertise and provides clear insight into the trends and trajectories of the eye care industry.
Learn more about Bill Wiley: https://www.clevelandeyeclinic.com/our-doctors-ohio/william-f-wiley-m-d/
Follow Bill Wiley on Twitter: @wiley2020
Connect with Amnon on Linkedin:
Learn more about Surgiorithm: surgiorithm.com
Follow Surgiorithm on Twitter: @surgiorithm
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Read the transcript of the Podcast below.
Joel Gaslin: [00:20] Welcome to the Make Marketing Easy Podcast. If you’re a returning listener, thanks for tuning in again. If you’re a new listener, welcome. This podcast aims to help doctors and medical device reps learn about what’s happening in their markets so that they may do things smarter and build connections.
[00:40] On today’s episode I have two guests. That’s a first for me. My first guest is Dr. Bill Wiley. Dr. Wiley’s an ophthalmologist and a managing partner of the highly successful Cleveland Eye Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.
[00:53] My second guest is Amnon Keynan. Amnon is a serial entrepreneur who is relatively new to the medical industry, and is also the founder and CEO of Surgiorithm, a healthcare software company using a predictive algorithm to engage patients.
[01:07] Dr. Wiley, thanks for being on the show today. Please tell us about your background and your practice in Cleveland, Ohio.
Dr. Bill Wiley: [01:13] Sure. Thanks, Joel. Thanks for having me. I’ve been in Cleveland, Ohio, for the past 15 years. I originally joined my father’s practices. He had two practices that he started, one called Clear Choice Custom LASIK Center and the other one called Cleveland Eye Clinic.
[01:29] In general, both practices were running independently, but we’ve seen a merger of the two practices. Cleveland Eye Clinic historically was a cataract practice that focused on insurance reimbursed procedures like cataract surgery, and we had Clear Choice Custom LASIK Center which focused on corneal refractive surgery.
[01:48] Over the past 15 years we’ve seen a lot of changes and updates to that market with new technology and new services that we can provide for corneal refractive surgery. What we’ve seen is those two concepts merging together to now have something called upgraded cataract surgery where we can have a better refractive result when we do cataract surgery.
[02:07] We’ve taken a lot of what we’ve learned in corneal refractive surgery and applied that to cataract surgery to get better results and meet patient’s expectations better.
[02:18] What’s happened is it’s created great opportunities to deliver better outcomes, but it’s also created new challenges such that there’s some challenges in educating patients, making sure that they understand what their opportunities are when they go down that path of cataract surgery. I think that’s what leads us to today’s discussion.
Joel: [02:37] That’s great. Thanks for that background. Amnon and I have talked about this and maybe even you and I have, Bill, at some point.
[02:43] I think what’s really interesting about ophthalmology right now is, for so long, physicians have been focused on what I call inside the practice, the four walls, where you’ll have how many EMR/EHR systems have you already gone through and then practice management software instead of working within there.
[03:00] I think there’s an opportunity now and people are beginning to see. People like you and other successful practices around the country that are starting to look more outside the practice and look at the commercial flow of a commercial process within the practice. To use the restaurant vernacular, it’s like front of the house, back of the house.
[03:19] That’s why I’m really excited to have someone like Amnon on the podcast today who’s working on that solving their issue for practices. Amnon, please tell us about your background and what made you decide to start Surgiorithm and what does this software do?
Amnon Keynan: [03:35] I’m excited to join, thank you for having me on this podcast. My passion in life is to innovate in improving processes using multidisciplinary approaches and technologies. I’ve done it in the past. I’ve done it in insurance, in public sector, in communication and healthcare.
[03:52] Every time I try again and again to find the other interesting niches to do it. I did it as an executive in large enterprises as well as a co‑founder in small startup. This is my third.
[04:05] What I like to do best is to envision and deliver new technology that makes the daily life of user ‑‑ in our case we’re talking about doctors ‑‑ easier and more productive. In addition, to develop new knowledge. In our case, we’re talking about knowledge about patient journey.
[04:24] Three years ago, together with my partner Diane and Shawn who joined us, we started elective procedure market. We liked ophthalmology because cataract is the most common procedure in the States with multiple choices. This is a key point, multiple choices, for patients and the debt of thousands of dollars between the choices.
[04:47] A number of surgeons remain flat in this industry. There is a clear need for better use of the surgeon’s time to fuel organic growth. In short, we believe that it’s time for ophthalmology to join the consumer era. It is our mission to help ophthalmologists grow in the consumer era, which will be so dominant in the next decade.
Joel: [05:11] Great for doing it as the consumerization of healthcare and…
Amnon: [05:14] Yeah, I like it very much.
Joel: [05:16] It’s happening and it’s real. I’m also amazed and humbled by how…I travel around the country, as you both know, and go into lots of different practices. So many times people say, “My area is different and that doesn’t work here.”
[05:30] I’ve just seen so many exceptions to that, that it works anywhere with the right process that’s why they like you use the word process, Amnon. What is a predictive algorithm, Amnon? How does it work, and how does it create value for Surgiorithm?
Amnon: [05:45] This is a great question, thank you. It’s great opportunity for me to explain these terms in our context. The common use of predictive algorithm in healthcare is mostly in batch processes of large amounts data. Everybody heard about it for medical records, lab results, and so on, studies, etc.
[06:07] We, however, have some different approach. We use predictive algorithm to create predictors about individual patient’s decision. We started with answers from 2,500 patients who were scheduled to cataract evaluation before they get into the evaluation. Then we compare the data to their decisions.
[06:28] We now use this analytics to tell the doctor, with a predictor for each individual patient, what is the likelihood of this patient to choose self‑pay options before the doctor sees the patient.
[06:41] The result is that, when the patient comes to the appointment, the doctor knows in advance if the patient is yes for self‑pay, or, in other words, “Doctor will get me out of these glasses,” or no, in other words, “I’m happy to wearing glasses all the time.” Both yes and no indicators save doctor’s time. It saves a lot of time in enquiry questions and so on.
[07:08] Not less important is the other predictor, the maybe, the third predictor, which means you, doctor, will need to help the patient to make decisions.
[07:19] Another value of the predictor to the patient and the doctor is the availability of wisdom of the crowd as a consideration in the decision. The patient gets message as part of the preparation program that patients who answer similarly discussed premium options with their doctor, so they are not alone.
[07:40] The predictor tells the doctor that, based on multiple doctors and thousands of patients, this is the patient inclination proven by data. This creates a unique value to our customers and unique competitive advantage to Surgiorithm.
Joel: [07:57] Is that like it when you go on Amazon, you buy something, and then, at the bottom, it says, “Other people like you would pick something like this,” or it’s a way to look at correlation between what like people make decisions or is that…Am I understanding that correctly?
Amnon: [08:13] Yeah. You remember the days before Amazon. In those days, consumer needed much legwork to know all product options, their availability, and prices. Shopkeepers knew very little about who is coming, when, and what, and not to mention the consumer trends.
[08:31] Yet, even today, in the elective procedures, the doctor needs to sell the procedure to patient in a shared decision‑making process. This involves much time and information.
[08:45] By us introducing Amazonization of elective procedure, the patient knows what to expect like optional and quality of life outcomes, range of fees. The doctor knows how to personalize the message efficiently and to save the most important resource ‑‑ the doctor’s time. This has to be fixed. Surgiorithm solution is the practice of discovery and disseminization.
Joel: [09:12] That’s great.
Amnon: [09:12] I hope that this answer the question.
Joel: [09:14] It does. That’s, again, what I really like about this is, if you think about a medical practice, ‑‑ and, Dr. Wiley, you can certainly echo on this ‑‑ that the most valuable and also the most scarce resource in a practice is the doctor’s time. Is that the right way to think about in your mind, Bill?
Dr. Wiley: [09:32] Yeah. I think as the cataract market is growing and growing, it seems that we just don’t have the time to treat patients, to do surgery, to educate patients. Physicians are in this place that they need to delegate a lot of things to either staff members or technology to help carry out those processes.
[09:53] It’s one thing to do it to save time, but what’s interesting, if you can do it not only to save time, but also improve that process and do a better job than what the physician can do, everybody wins. I think the patients win because they’re better educated or better understand things, and the physician wins because he’s freed up a valuable resource of his own time.
Joel: [10:13] What is it, Dr. Wiley, that made you decide to take a look at Surgiorithm? How did you become connected with them?
Dr. Wiley: [10:18] In our practice, we did see the value of educating patients on what their choices were for cataract surgery, but also understanding on an individual basis what those patients were looking for.
[10:31] We had a full‑time employee that went through a process that would educate patients, sit down with them, try to understand what their needs were for cataract surgery, and then relay that information back to the surgeon.
[10:45] That was working well, but then that employee was getting older and was looking to slow down and retire. We thought, “Gosh, how are we going to replace that person?” We found that was an integral piece to the process, is that education and feedback to the surgeon.
[11:03] Right around that time, we met Surgiorithm that was accomplishing that same goal, but through technology and not necessarily an individual. We thought it was perfect timing to help step in and replace that full‑time employee.
[11:17] Right now, we have multiple surgeons in multiple locations and that employee just couldn’t be everywhere at once. Even if they were in the clinic that day, there might be multiple patients that needed discussion and he just couldn’t see everybody, just like the surgeon couldn’t.
[11:33] Really, to do it adequately with employees, we’d probably need three or four people to do what now Surgiorithm can do in not only a more efficient way, but more effective way.
[11:45] Now that we’ve found by integrating Surgiorithm, we’re able to replace that full‑time employee, but also do a better job of educating and providing that feedback loop to the surgeon on what that patient is likely going to be looking for in their surgery.
Joel: [12:01] Amnon, do you have any results, stories, or anecdotes that you’d like to tell? Success stories early on? You’re what, a year into the market? Is that about right?
Amnon: [12:12] Yeah. Just to talk a few sentences about history, we started in clinic using iPad to collect data of patient’s decision pathways. This is what help us to build up the predictor and the patient insight report.
[12:29] With the experience of 2,500 patient, we moved to the at‑home service and entered our patient contact center, which drives, right now, 85 completion rate of people at home. This has streamlined the entire process of preparation.
[12:48] Then, we added integration to videos from AAO and Rendia. We are just in the process of integrating links to financing service providers because we want patient to be less anxious about affordability and going into the discussion.
[13:08] From results, yes. The data that we have is that, first, doctors see more patients. It’s about 10 percent more. When we compare between the same months last year and this year, then we also see that there is increase in selection of self‑pay options. Other than these important results and we help Dr. Wiley how he sees it, we also have much learning here.
[13:38] One of the examples that I can share is that we compared data of patient who did it in practice and patient who did it at home at the same practice. What we learned from that is that patient at home are much more open, was open‑minded to contemplate opportunities.
[13:59] In other words, if we can deliver the right messages to those who are contemplating and we know that we have the data to show that this individual is contemplating, then we can be much more successful when the patient is in front of the doctor in the evaluation room.
Joel: [14:18] I’ve always been humbled and amazed by the commercial process that I see with a lot of people. A patient comes in and they hear, “I have a cataract,” and we know that it’s a really successful operation and everything that’s true about it. Yet, sometimes patients hear, “I have a cataract,” and they’re a little bit scared maybe.
[14:39] Then, many doctors at that time in their process says, “OK. Now, we’re gonna try and sell them an upgrade.” If you look at a perfect selling environment, to be maybe garish about using the term selling in health care, but it really is a commercial process at that point.
[14:54] It’s an odd time to ask someone to make it and then they say, “Nope, don’t want it. Don’t really understand my options.” They just move forward and they say, “OK. I don’t need it.” That’s why I think it’s really great what is happening and what you’re working on.
Amnon: [15:07] Let me add here that what happens for most patients is that they schedule the cataract evaluation say, next week, 10 days ahead, 7 days ahead. There, there is a dark frame of time. The patient is at home, anxious, thinking about, “What will happen? Somebody will get into my eye. What does it mean?” and so on.
[15:33] What we are doing when the patient is at home, we send the patient a secure link to do an online session. Our online session is focused on the outcome of the procedure. We help patient in a thoughtful process to think, “What is my side goals? What do we want to have as quality of life postop in regard to activities, work, driving, glasses?” and so on.
[16:00] With that, we focus the patient to think about the life postop and not the scary thing of the procedure itself.
Joel: [16:11] Dr. Wiley, will you tell us a little bit about or tell the listeners about what it was like to get started with Surgiorithm and how? Sometimes when you add something new into your practice, it can be disruptive and not super easy.
[16:23] What people tell me is Surgiorithm is really easy to get started with and that the team is really helpful. Will you tell us about what your experience was or is with that?
Dr. Wiley: [16:30] Yes. In general, when you add a new process, it can be disruptive. For example, when we added EMR, it seemed like we had to reduce our flow, our patient volume, by 20 or 30 percent just to get through the day. It was extremely painful process.
[16:46] What’s nice is Surgiorithm was more or less seamless. From the day [laughs] we incorporated it, we took a step forward and it made our lives easier.
[16:56] A lot of times you listen to staff and, if they’re not bought in, it’s very hard to incorporate new technology. From day one, the staff was immediately bought in. They saw that it was going to make their lives easier.
[17:08] Our surgery scheduler saw that the patients were now going to be better informed and the physician was going to be better informed of what the patients were looking for. It was very seamless.
[17:18] I think one of the key aspects to that is the fact that Surgiorithm has…Part of the process is they reach out to the patient and walk the patient through a survey, walk the patient to getting registered for that survey and expecting the email.
[17:32] I think that personal touch adds one layer of confidence to the patient and our team that things are going to be done correctly. Nowadays, we get a lot of emails in the mail. A lot of times you don’t open them, but having that personal phone call, reaching out to the patient, helps start the process in a positive direction.
[17:52] We were sensitive also as far as how much information do we want to load the patients up with and surveys. A lot of times, patients are getting about a number of things, and you don’t want to overload them. What’s nice is there is a feedback loop to understand our patient’s enjoying the processes or not.
[18:10] I think, Amnon, you would have the stats at your fingertips. We had over, I think, 97 percent patient satisfaction with the process itself, which is very high for any kind of new technology that you’re adding. The fact that patients were happier, staff was happier, physicians were happier, everybody was on board almost immediately.
Joel: [18:32] Right. Your practice…
Amnon: [18:33] That’s a bright career.
Joel: [18:34] Yeah, and I know your practice, Dr. Wiley. You’re highly focused on the patient experience, and so it sounds like Surgiorithm really is a nice way to improve on the patient experience. How do you think about that statement?
Dr. Wiley: [18:45] Yeah, correct. There’s a lot of things we do as physicians to improve outcomes and add technology to get a better result, but, bottom line, the result is almost a given. Patients are expecting that no matter where they go. The experience is what they truly remember. How do they go through that process to your practice?
[19:08] We focus a lot on creating a better experience because that’s more or less a lot of what you’re going to be judged on. You might deliver this beautiful result, but, if your front desk person or the call center drops the ball, that’s all the patients remember.
[19:22] Anytime you can take that experience or that interaction and raise the bar, I think everybody wins. We see that Surgiorithm allowed us to do that in the experience level.
Joel: [19:33] Great. Dr. Wiley, why do you think some doctors are hesitant to offer upgraded products and services to patients, and what did you do to get so good at it, frankly?
Dr. Wiley: [19:43] It can be challenging to offer upgrades to patient. A lot of it, I think, doctors are afraid of failed expectations. By offering an upgraded service, you’re automatically raising that patient expectation above, let’s say, a basic level.
[20:02] We’re in the business of meeting or exceeding patient expectations. Physicians are often afraid that anytime a patient is going to be paying out of pocket, they might not be able to basically meet those expectations. What’s also nice is Surgiorithm has an opportunity to help properly set those expectations on what those patients are buying into.
[20:24] You can send patients personal videos explaining what the patient might expect with the choice they’re going to choose. A lot of it is setting realistic and appropriate expectations to allow that physician to meet or exceed them. I think this product can help get more people on board with feeling comfortable and confident in offering those upgrades.
Joel: [20:49] That’s a great observation, and I think, at least from where I sit, the end of your statement’s really important about the physician being comfortable and confident. I know you’re good friends with John Berdahl, and I was at an Ophthalmology Innovation Summit.
[21:01] He was on a panel, and he, as you know, in his sort of boyish charm, when they were talking about the pace of adoption of ATIOLs in laser cataract surgery and upgraded cataract surgery, and he raised his hand and said, “Well, I think it’s that doctors aren’t comfortable talking about money, and I’m just going to say that,” and everybody nodded their head.
[21:23] Another thing I really like about Surgiorithm is it creates that pre‑sell environment where people…We understand what it is. We understand, “OK. Here’s a person who’s going to be a person likely to upgrade, so it’s an easy conversation.” I think that’s great.
[21:35] Amnon, as a relatively new person to the industry of ophthalmology, what are your thoughts about how innovation happens, and how does it convert to other industries where you’ve enjoyed so much success?
Amnon: [21:45] Thank you. This is very interesting question. The first thing that comes in mind is that most of the investment in innovation in ophthalmology is happening with measurement and surgical technologies.
[21:59] With the need for organic growth, which is out there in the market right now, it is very clear to a newcomer like me that the solution will come from consumerism technologies that will ease the streamline in patient decision.
[22:14] With this information technology, that will help doctors move faster. In elective procedure, probably introducing the Amazonization of elective procedures is the answer, but I have a feeling that we talked about it.
Joel: [22:30] We did. I think the earlier part of your answer where you said that the majority of innovation in ophthalmology is focused on medical technology, med device, and pharma, and I think that’s true.
[22:41] Bill, would you agree with that, or what do you…We’re getting towards a need and an opportunity for people that develop technologies for what we’re talking about.
Dr. Wiley: [22:50] Yeah, totally agree. It seems that early software technology was more or less [laughs] meeting goals of, let’s say, billing, or scheduling, or documentation, very basic‑level goals, and replacing paper as far as a documentation tool or a scheduling tool.
[23:11] We really [laughs] have just only barely scratched the surface of what technology can provide for healthcare like it’s provided for other industries, and there’s so much more we can do. We just haven’t had the opportunity to raise the level of service that we’re providing to patients.
[23:30] I think Surgiorithm is a step in that direction by raising that educational level, raising the feedback to physicians, but also having this analytical software that analyzes that process and allows it to improve over time.
[23:46] We just haven’t had that ability yet, and I think we’re going to start to see technologies like this help raise that bar and commercialize, like you said, medicine in a positive direction.
Joel: [23:57] That’s great, and I think you said a lot right there, Dr. Wiley, and part of it is that physicians in general are very process‑driven in almost everything you do. I think that’s the part that’s been lacking, and I think there is an opportunity in the market.
[24:10] If you think about it, like you, I go to the Ophthalmology Innovation Summit. I think it’s a terrific meeting. I commented to Amnon after the last one that there’s not a software company or a patient engagement company that’s promoting at these or even talked about at these conferences.
[24:27] My hope is that maybe there’s an opportunity to start a conference around just…Call it patient engagement type of software platforms and how they do that. Maybe that’s something to think about in the future.
Dr. Wiley: [24:38] Yeah, I totally agree.
Joel: [24:40] Bill, how do you think patients are changing in ophthalmology? What role do you think interactive technology, mobile apps, artificial intelligence, what will they play in your practice five years from now, and where do you see that fitting into the clinic and the OR, those two environments?
Dr. Wiley: [24:56] I think patients are changing in health care, but more or less in all commercial aspects. You see how people shop, or how people learn, or how people interact online. We’re seeing that trickle over to health care and ophthalmology, specifically.
[25:15] I think the days in the past of a patient sitting in a room, in an office watching a video about cataract surgery, that’s going to go by the wayside. The patient wants to see that same content, but do it on their time, on their device, when they’re comfortable.
[25:32] We’re seeing a lot of things like that, things like online scheduling. Patients don’t want to necessarily go through a call center and reach out. They want to do it more digitally and have interactions via their smartphone or computer to more or less navigate their life, like they’re doing in other aspects of their life.
[25:53] I think we have to take a step forward in these processes to meet these patients’ lifestyle as they’re changing in day‑to‑day living.
Amnon: [26:02] Let me add to this. I think the big change that we are starting to experience is the need for personalization. The main cataract patient right now are the baby boomer that are coming into this cataract era for them. These people have the experience in other industries that everything is personalized to them.
[26:26] We’ve talked about Amazon. We just need to give a reference here to that. The change in the market that we need to create is to personalize the messages, the education, and the patient needs to feel that what the patient is experiencing is part of the education and preparation, whatever, is personalized.
[26:47] We help both the patient and the doctor to get into personalized preparation and then personalized discussion.
Joel: [26:55] Amnon, what do you view as the critical success factors for Surgiorithm? How does a doctor who may be listening to this podcast, or even a med device rep, or someone who likes to bring ideas to their surgeons they’re working with or trying to work with, how do they get started with Surgiorithm?
[27:11] How do they get more information and learn about it? What kind of questions should they be asking their team?
Amnon: [27:16] Talking about Surgiorithm, first, our success comes from more traction and more customers. With that, this means that more traction means more functionality and more insights. This is how we improve, process, measure, and so on.
[27:34] A doctor who is thinking about deploying Surgiorithm should ask two major questions. First, do we need to grow? Do we need to improve? Do we want more bottom line revenue from consumers that we already have? These are key questions.
[27:53] If the answer is yes, do they have the team and the culture to jumpstart a new way of patient engagement and experience for the benefit of the patient and the practice?
[28:08] If this is the intention, we can help the practice prepare the patient in a way that, when the patient is in front of the doctor, the doctor needs to qualify the answers of the question and to say what is the recommendation based on this.
Joel: [28:26] Dr. Wiley, your practice, I know, is heavily involved with optometry. How do you see Surgiorithm fitting with optometry and how does that process work for you?
Dr. Wiley: [28:37] In our practice, we do a lot of co‑management, and we’ve found that a lot of times, in a co‑management model, there can be some disjointed messaging that can be challenging to wrap your hands around where the optometric practice may be saying one thing to the patient and our practice is saying something else.
[28:57] It’s nice to have a unified source that can bring both together. What we’ve done is reached out to our optometry colleagues and have them buy into the Surgiorithm process as well so that they understand this is the message that’s going to be sent to the patients.
[29:15] The optometrists can help support that and say, “OK,” to the patient, “you’re gonna get this survey. You’re gonna get a phone call, and it’s gonna describe the survey. Why don’t you register and walk yourself through that. It’s gonna help all of us understand what your goals are and understand what you’re looking with surgery? We can communicate that message back to the surgeon.”
[29:36] We can also have specialized videos that could go to that patient that might come from the optometrist, allowing that optometrist to support the messaging that we’re trying to create. We personalize videos for myself, for our team to describe what the process is going to look like.
[29:51] It gives a common platform of education to make sure that we’re all speaking the same words or using that same phrases or same technologies that the patients understand and not getting this mixed message from one practice to another.
Amnon: [30:06] Dr. Wiley, if I can ask you about these ODs, did you hear any feedback or question from your referring ODs about this process of Surgiorithm?
Dr. Wiley: [30:17] Good question. Initially, just like integration of technology to our staff, a lot of times there’s resistance, and same thing with optometry. Sometimes they’re resistant to change because it may disrupt their relationship with a patient or may add another level of complexity that might make their job harder.
[30:37] I was a little worried about that integrating Surgiorithm, but what we found is we’ve had buy in immediately from the optometrists as well so that they understand this is a non‑invasive process. They understand that it’s going to allow their patients to be better educated so that they can understand what they’re getting into with this surgery.
[30:55] We’ve had a buy‑in and very positive feedback from our optometric network.
Amnon: [31:00] That’s great, thank you.
Joel: [31:02] Anything that I haven’t asked you about that you wanted to talk about or were hoping to talk about on the podcast, whether it’s, Bill, something interesting you’re working on? Amnon, anything you want to talk about?
Dr. Wiley: [31:11] I see Surgiorithm being agreeable to future technology that we’re going to be offering. A lot of times we’ve found with, let’s say, written messaging, written brochures, or education material that it seems like the technology that we’re providing clinically changes so quickly.
[31:27] By the time we have a brochure ready to go, we might be using a new technology, a new lens, or a new laser and we have to go back to the drawing board and recreate our written message.
[31:39] What’s nice for Surgiorithm, we can very quickly update what message we want to give to those patients. Maybe record a quick video that describes this new process that we’re going to be doing for the patients.
[31:50] Like anything digital, to have that ability to quickly change the platform once you have the foundation pieces in place, it provides for a very updatable tool that we can use.
Joel: [32:02] That’s great. Iterating and keeping the message fresh and consistent with, as you say, it goes to harmonization of message.
Amnon: [32:09] Dr. Wiley, do you see any way to use Surgiorithm for clinical trials?
Dr. Wiley: [32:14] That’s a great point, Amnon. We do do a fair amount of clinical trials and a lot of times those are changing as well. Right now, we’ve got a couple trials underway that have to do with some of the upgraded technology, maybe a new presbyopic lens.
[32:29] What we can do is add a questionnaire or a simple question within that process that the patient’s undergoing that might ask the patient are they interested in a clinical trial that might provide this upgraded vision?
[32:44] To have that feedback, number one, to the patient so they see if they can opt‑in or opt‑out of that technology, but also relaying that back to our staff is invaluable.
[32:53] It can help increase enrollment, help increase education. We can have directed messaging about that technology so the patient understands what this new clinical trial might offer. Again, that harmonization of messaging is across all things, including clinical trials.
Amnon: [33:13] Thank you. Joel, what I would like to add, two things. First, referring back to the discussion about the OD integration and involvement, our vision is to work with the practices to close the loop with the ODs in a way that the process starts with OD registration and referring the patient to the practice.
[33:40] Then close the loop by sending a message, both to the OD and the patient, “It’s time to go back to the OD.” This will probably support the interest of the core management.
[33:52] The other point, at some time during this discussion you asked me about what kind of question the doctor need to ask himself or herself while considering Surgiorithm.
[34:08] One of my answer was, “Does the practice has the culture to jumpstart a new way for patient engagement?” This is an opportunity for me to say that Cleveland Eye Clinic sets the bar for committed team, all rolling in the same direction. Its leadership has established a culture of innovative thinking and high personal commitment. We appreciate it.
[34:33] Thank you, Joel, for having me on your podcast. It was a lot of fun. Thank you, Dr. Wiley, for joining us and sharing so many insights with us. Thank you.
Joel: [34:44] That’s great. You’re welcome, Amnon. Thanks, both to you and Dr. Wiley for being on the show. I enjoyed visiting with you and learning more about both of you and your practice and your business.
[35:08] I recently attended a conference called the Podcast Movement. It was a lot of fun there. I met with a lot of people, I learned a lot, and it was just fun to be immersed in the podcast culture for a while.
[35:18] I’m really becoming excited about this medium and what it can do to help people learn, how I can convey the messages of things I’ve learned and people that I talk to, what’s working and what’s not, and what’s new. It’s just a lot of fun.
[35:57] On this episode, you may find the show notes at joelgaslin.com. Joel, J‑O‑E‑L, Gaslin, G‑A‑S‑L‑I‑N, dot com, and you can find show notes and links to the things we talked about in the program.