Innovation in the service of Vision: Enhancing the role of optometrists.

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Innovation in the Service of Vision: Enhancing the Role of Optometrists.

“The alarm sounds, lawyers are contacted, and statutes are amended.”

This is how the OPTIKEREN article begins, written by Caroline Branzén, CEO at Okkult, and Petter Hagfors, shareholder. The statutory changes are causing a stir, described as “not serious,” “threats to the profession,” and “dangers to ocular health,” according to various comments on social media. But what triggers the warning signals in the industry at Okkult? Some factors stand out. Yet, at Okkult, this revolution in the field of optics seems to be the key to the future. So, what exactly is happening that lights up the industry’s warning signals?

What status for an optometrist?

One of the main reasons lies in the debate surrounding the delegation of tasks to trained assistants. While it is common in many healthcare sectors to delegate tasks to trained assistants, this approach encounters resistance at Okkult. Allowing trained assistants to handle routine examinations and sales frees up valuable time for optometrists, allowing them to focus more on complex examinations.

A study by Lundmark and Luraas (2017) reveals that Norwegian optometrists perform an average of seven examinations per day, of which only 3.6% require a referral to a specialist, approximately every 28 examinations. These numbers emphasize the need to optimize optometrists’ time by freeing them from simpler tasks and directing them toward specialized examinations.

Technology offers opportunities, not challenges.

“We also believe that new technology in the sector will not make optometrists unemployed,” write the leaders of Okkult. The technological revolution in the optical sector is not to be feared but embraced. Okkult is betting on the integration of AI and data-assisted refraction to simplify patients’ lives while making optometrists’ lives more flexible. The accuracy of data-assisted refraction, when used by trained staff, offers a familiar experience to clients while optimizing the process.

The customer benefits from faster care, reducing fatigue, and receiving an optimal correction proposal. As a result, there is a significant decrease in the remanufacturing rate of lenses and glasses for a more precise adaptation to their correction.

In a highly competitive optical market, where there is an increasing focus on creating a consistent customer journey, integrating innovative diagnostic assistance software within optometrist teams becomes a true customer experience.

Using Artificial Intelligence Software for Eye Examinations.

Okkult has chosen to use the services of the company SiVIEW® to integrate a major innovation into its refraction practices. With SiviewExam®, SiVIEW®’s software, Okkult’s healthcare professionals can now perform precise and reproducible eye examinations. Based on two clinical studies, this software leverages artificial intelligence to offer optimal personalization in the visual examination process. This collaboration highlights Okkult’s commitment to embracing the latest technological advances to improve the patient experience while allowing optometrists to focus on more complex and specialized examinations.

It is crucial that the industry seriously addresses these technological developments and discusses their impact on optometrists’ working conditions. Ignoring these advances could be a strategic mistake, reminiscent of the stories of giants like Kodak and Nokia that failed to anticipate major changes in their sector.

Okkult, a pioneering chain

Speaking of innovation, Okkult offers a free eye check, with no commitment or obligation to purchase. This initiative has sparked mixed reactions among traditional optometrists who often associate personal value with the cost of the examination. However, Okkult defends the concept that value lies in consistent monthly income, task relevance, and well-being at work.

With SiVIEW®, Okkult allows its collaborators to spend more time on what they were trained for and less time on routine tasks and sales. They hope that this will offer a more exciting, professionally stimulating daily life and enable them to best use their expertise for the benefit of patients.

In 2022, the industry generated approximately 6 billion, and with only 0.06% of this revenue, Okkult has already shaken the foundations of the status quo. The commitment persists to challenge established norms, improve the patient journey, and, above all, allow optometrists to focus on what they do best: being optometrists. Okkult has paved the way where innovation and tradition come together to offer an optimal visual experience, proving that the future of visual health is in expert hands, those of optometrists.

→ Article written following the publication of OPTIKEREN issue 4, “Let Optometrists Be Optometrists,” written by Caroline Branzén, CEO at Okkult, and Petter Hagfors, shareholder at Okkult.

Writer: Corentin Auffret.

 

Read also

“There will always be a need for experts,” SiVIEW assists with AI refraction.

How AI is transforming the future of visual health.

Interview with Laure Pichereau on BFM TV on 12/09/22: SiVIEW uses artificial intelligence for reliable vision diagnostics.”

Image showing an optometrist with the tablet SiVIEW in future

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