Technology is advancing at an ever increasing pace, enabling rapid improvement in patient care. Just last week, Google applied for a patent for contact lenses with built in cameras. Wearers will be able to command the device by using specific blinking patterns. Google hopes that it will also be used to assist the blind, allowing them to “see.” The lens would have the capability to alert the wearer that he or she is approaching a crosswalk. The lens would also have a wireless connection to smart phones, utilizing face recognition technology to help these patients detect faces.
Physicians have access to technology never seen before, and medical practices are starting to integrate this technology for more effective patient care. One fun example of a technology Cornea Associates has tested is an inexpensive adapter that attaches to our physicians' iPhones. Our physicians are able to take photos on the spot, increasing efficiency, and enhancing patient education about their current conditions. This lens is attached to a standard iPhone and then hooked onto our slit lamp. Slit lamps are machines that take clear, high-resolution images of the anterior segment (the front of the eye). Using the inexpensive adapter, the resulting photos are used as patient education tools as well as photos for illustration purposes in educational talks given by our surgeons. Although this technology has not replaced or, more expensive slit lamp camera, the iPhone adapter lenses are a quick, easy way to capture these images without the patient having to leave the exam room.
Other applications in medicine for both iPhones and iPads are increasing in popularity. A simple app allows our physician to access patient medical records from anywhere a cell signal is available. Our on call team is now able to provide enhanced patient care, having immediate access to the patient's current medical record. The implementation of electronic medical records technology within our practice has improved patient care as well. Dr. Brad Bowman was one of our most reluctant physicians during our transition away from paper charts. When asked about EMR today, Dr. Bowman said, "I am a better doctor today because of electronic medical records. I can take better care of my patients and I am more efficient."
At Cornea Associates of Texas, our main priority is delivering advance, quality care to our patients. We are always looking for new ways to provide better visual results.