1) Please describe what the Fitting Box is used for and give a basic sense of how it works.
The Fitting Box is a combination of 3 software programs all accessible in one iPad: it includes an ophthalmic lens tutorial, a styling assistant and a virtual mirror.
a. The lens tutorial is designed to illustrate how certain lenses work by looking through the “iPad lens”. It can simulate how a progressive or no-line bifocal works and highlight differences in the various types of progressives, show the difference between lenses with and without anti-reflective coatings, show how a transitions lens works inside and outside. It can highlight and even quantify the size and shape changes when high index lenses are used to show patients with higher prescriptions why thinner lighter weight materials are important. As a whole, It attempts to visually define how each patient’s lenses are unique to their eyes and help understand why specific recommendations were made for the patient. It is a fantastic tool that gives patients the wow factor when going over their lens choices.
b. The styling assistant takes an image of the patient’s face and uses facial recognition software to make frame recommendations based on the patient’s face shape. It can offer suggestions for frame shape (ie square, round, oval, etc.), frame style (plastic, metal, rimless, etc) and even frame color based on a skin tone analysis. Then patients can search our digital catalog and actually “try on” frames in a virtual reality type setting. **Patients can turn their heads and the frames will rotate with them showing how the temples look along with the straightforward view. Being able to scroll through all the frame options and vendors really makes our frame selection truly ENDLESS. Any frame, any manufacturer, you can try it on with the styling assistant. If we don’t have a frame in stock, but a patient likes what they see on the iPad, we can certainly order what they are looking for.
c. The virtual mirror is similar to the styling assistant, with the addition of a “selfie” camera. If you like a style or want feedback, take a picture of yourself and upload it instantly on social media and get your friends, relatives and coworkers to comment on your choices. It’s like having a gallery of people in the office shopping with you. It can strengthen a patient’s choice or give them feedback that they may want to choose a different style. It is a great tool so patients can ensure they are making a good choice by using social media to get comments and opinions.
2) Why is the Fitting Box important, and can you explain specifically what this new technology allows you to do that you were not able to do before?
The fitting box technology provides plenty of opportunities to improve upon our current model and capabilities. The lens tutorial can actually show people how their lenses work instead of drawing diagrams on post-its or using mumbled jargon to try and get patients to understand complex lens options. The styling assistant basically makes our inventory endless because we can show people how frames look on their face even if we don’t physically have them in stock in our office. And the virtual mirror allows people to get feedback by sharing images on social media. It should help eliminate buyer’s remorse and help confirm when patients have made good (or bad) choices on a frame style.
3) Most practices in your area do not have this technological capability. What is it about this particular technology that you find most exciting; the component that made you feel you need to invest in this for your practice?
We live in a digital world, and the rabbit hole gets deeper everyday. When we can show patients how we use technology to EDUCATE and PROVIDE THEM MORE OPTIONS then we have undoubtedly improved our brand. I think the most exciting thing about Fitting Box is that it’s “all-in-one”. We can give patients everything I am describing in a matter of 10 or 15 minutes by simply looking at an iPad. In a time that we are competing so heavily with online retailers for glasses and contacts, it is critical to not only discuss, but also PROVE that patients are better off getting their products from us. The Fitting Box goes a long way to providing patients with peace of mind about their decision to purchase glasses from us instead of shopping around.
4) Can you describe the patient experience when using the Fitting Box?
After a patient completes their eye exam, the doctor makes lens recommendations for the patient and executes a “hand off” to an optician, which is basically restating and confirming what lens specifications the patient needs to optimize their vision. Then the optician takes the patient to the dispensary where they will sit down and make sure the patient understands what is being recommended. If and when questions arise, it is the perfect time to introduce the fitting box lens tutorial. After questions are answered the patient can start looking at frames and start using the styling assistant and virtual mirror to pick out the proper frame style. After all selections are made, the optician will go through insurance benefits and discuss cost with the patient, which is the final step in the process.
5) Do the patients that walk through your doors day in and day out, appreciate the upgrade in technology?
Patients are very receptive to the new technology and are providing feedback on it. They like to know that we are reinvesting in our business. They understand to stay competitive and provide the best experience possible we need to embrace new technologies whenever they present themselves. The styling assistant created several opportunities to show patients with high prescriptions how they look in specific frames when in the past those same patients complained they could not see well enough to make an educated decision on a particular frame.
6) For what patients do you use the Fitting Box? Are there certain patients that you need this technology more in order to meet their needs?
The Fitting Box has the ability to aid EVERY patient that walks through the door. Each patient has a unique prescription and their own unique environment (work, school, recreation, etc) in which they have visual demands. So, simply put, the Fitting Box can be used to help anybody and everybody. I think the optimal situation though would be for the first time progressive lens wearer. Simulating how their vision will be with a progressive is something that any doctor can describe until they are blue in the face. But there is no substitute for looking through a progressive lens before you actually purchase one.
7) Can you share a particular story about a patient who benefitted greatly from using the Fitting Box?
Recently we had an older female patient come in for her routine eye exam. She had quite a high prescription, approximately -8.00D in both eyes. She has never worn contacts and was frustrated about not being able to see how she looked in various frames she tried on. We took several photos of her with the virtual mirror. Seeing a larger, digital image on our iPad allowed her to see well enough to make a decision on a frame. A decision she has had difficulty with in the past.