Several of the community eye care practices I compete with are investing in new technology; anterior and posterior OCT, fundus cameras, corneal topographers, and patient databases and clinical record-keeping systems. My practice is two years old and is prosperous. Should I invest in the same technology?
Technology can be important especially if your competitors have it but it comes with problems:
It is expensive to purchase.
It is expensive to maintain.
Can you afford the technology?
Do you purchase outright or lease the technology?
Do you charge patients for using the technology?
Do you raise the costs of lenses and frames to cover the cost of the technology?
Do you cut costs somewhere else in your practice to pay for the technology?
Do you have the space for it?
Do you have the time/money to learn how to use it?
Do you have the time/money to train your staff how to use it?
Will the technology attract new patients?
Will the technology lead to patient loyalty?
Do you have the time/money to promote the new technology to your patients?
Do you have the space in your practice for the new technology?
Do you buy one piece of technology or several pieces at the same time?
Do you compete with your competitors on customer service and have the minimum of technology?
Do you store the data in the practice or in the Cloud and take on more costs?
Can the data be exported?
Do you want to develop a subspecialty?
Technology that allows you to see more patients such as a digital refractor doesn’t bring additional revenue and higher patient volume doesn’t necessarily mean more income per hour because it tends to erode the patient experience.
Any technology you purchase must improve care, and pay for itself. Technology that looks or sounds good but does not improve the business can reduce profitability, rather than lead to prosperity.
Technology is more complicated than it seems at first glance.