PLANAR TOUCH SCREENS CREATE MEMORABLE EYECARE
If all goes as the visionaries of Pacific University's latest EyeClinic location predict, almost every aspect of optometric care and retail service that they provide could soon be based on touch screen technology. This prediction stems from the new Beaverton, Ore.-based clinic’s implementation of touch-screen monitors from Planar Systems to speed eyeglass frame and lens ordering, allowing customers to explore various glass and frame options in a unique, self-directed way.
In August 2011, the clinic’s opticians began using two of Planar’s 19-inch Multi-Touch Widescreen monitors (PT1985P model) in the selection and ordering of eyeglasses and frames following patient exams. In addition, a 22-inch Multi-Touch Screen monitor (PT2285PW) was installed as part of an interactive display that patients can use while waiting for their exams. These are the first steps toward the clinic’s goal of total technology immersion, with touch becoming the de-facto means of computer interaction.
Benefits to Patients, Students and Staff
In the words of Dr. Ami Halvorson, clinic director and assistant professor of optometry at Pacific - which operates the Beaverton clinic and five others nearby - touch screen technology is key to creating the ideal patient experience. “Touch makes it easy, even fun, to browse for and then find that perfect pair of glasses," Halvorson says. "And after an exam, ordering custom lenses and frames can be completed in a fraction of the time previously required.”
Another important benefit of the touch screens is their impact on optometry students, says Dr. Ken Eakland, associate dean of clinical programs at Pacific. “These young people have grown up with computers. When students see how touch technology works in our clinics, it makes a huge impression and provides a learning environment with the most high-tech equipment available on the market today."
Eakland became a proponent of touch technology nearly 10 years ago, but decided it didn’t then have the form and function he wanted in his clinics. With plans for the Beaverton location moving ahead in 2010, he began investigating Planar’s latest touch screen offerings and knew they were right. “The Planar touch screen monitors were sleek and stylish, and the touch screen functionality was solid and proven. I could see that touch would now enable us to do so many things more efficiently and have a great interaction with the patient in the process. Touch technology minimizes distractions that are common with computer use. It makes patient-centered care and service possible.”
The EyeClinic already sees the productivity benefits of the Planar monitors. Following an exam, patients sit with an optician to select their new glasses. With a few quick finger touches, the optician can pull down menus of lens types, sizes, styles and coatings, as well as select the right frame in the style or color the patient desires. This process, which used to take as long as an hour can now be done in just a few minutes. An order can be touch-entered while the patient is there, and can be transmitted errorfree. Halvorson adds, “We can handle more patients, with greater efficiency and accuracy. This contributes to greater patient satisfaction, staff proficiency and business growth.”
Important Attributes of Multi-Touch Products
Several key attributes led to the selection of the Planar touch screen monitors. The MultiTouch monitors have durable glass screens, so they can withstand the rigors of extensive touch-based use. The Multi-Touch monitors also are engineered to recognize touch from a finger, gloved-hand or a conductive stylus. They have a built-in privacy filter, which will be essential when the clinic implements its registration kiosk, where patients’ on-screen data needs to be kept private.
“Planar Multi-Touch monitors will be key elements in the paperless environment that we envision ‒ one that is tied to the patient’s electronic health record and allows easy and instant communication between doctors and staff, clinicians and patients; and opticians, our labs, suppliers and shippers." Eakland adds.
The Planar Difference
Asked about Planar as a partner, Eakland is quick to say: “I wish all my vendors had such a high commitment to customer service as Planar does. They came into our clinic, listened to us, understood our needs and then made recommendations that would best meet those needs. The relationship has far exceeded our expectations.