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Cover Focus | Nov/Dec '19

My Top Tech of 2019

Physicians describe the medical and nonmedical solutions they relied on this year.

Evan D. Schoenberg, MD

Medical | I transitioned my practice to Nextech’s ophthalmology EMR from Compulink in early 2019, and this has been a phenomenal upgrade to our clinical efficiency and our communication process. Its ICD-10 search capabilities are much more automatic than our old system, and its search is more robust. However, when faced with an unusual diagnosis or a situation in which I’m not sure quite what language the official ICD-10 diagnosis uses for a condition, I still find use for ICD10 Consult, a free iOS and Android app I developed. As always, October 1 marked the introduction of new and more specific codes as the latest release of ICD-10-CM went live, so I got to enjoy the challenge of ensuring my app was perfectly ready.

Nonmedical | Software ecosystems are getting better and better at communicating, and I’ve greatly enjoyed integrating my home’s devices via automation. I grin every time I feel like I’m living in the future via Insteon switches and outlets, Hue lights, MyQ garage control, Ecobee thermostats, and so on, with Google as the brains of the operation.

author
Evan D. Schoenberg, MD

Nandini Venkateswaran, MD

Medical | The AAO Ophthalmic Education App has been a wonderful resource for me over the past several months. I enjoy being able to utilize one app to access the latest news articles summarizing new ophthalmic research studies or findings, quickly search for and access surgical videos on common or complex surgical procedures, scroll through and try to diagnose challenging cases during free time, and even search for topics on EyeWiki to refresh my memory. I can stratify my searches to focus exclusively on cataract, cornea, and refractive surgery, but I can also access information on all subspecialties. As a busy trainee, having efficient and organized access to clinical information is key, and this app certainly provides that!

Nonmedical | Many of us in ophthalmology find ourselves traveling often, whether it be driving to satellite offices or surgery centers or flying to attend meetings, participate in or teach at courses, or see friends and/or family, especially now during the holiday season. I have found Audible to be a fantastic app for when I’m on the go. I can easily download audio books that have been recommended to me and listen to them in the car or on a plane. As someone who loves to read but doesn’t always find the time to do so, this app has helped me rekindle my love of reading. I am currently listening to Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss.

author
Nandini Venkateswaran, MD
  • Cornea, External Disease, and Refractive Surgery Fellow, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
  • nandini.venkat89@gmail.com
  • Financial disclosure: None

Nikola Ragusa, MD, FACS

Medical | If you ever need to check IOL calculations in the OR or are looking for a better way to mark the axis for a toric IOL, then you will find Eye Axis Check to be very useful. Eye Axis Check is a free app, available in the Apple App Store, that allows users to complete all of these tasks—and then some. The developer kept the interface extremely simple and user-friendly, and there are three basic options to choose from when opening the app: Marking, IOL Module, and Ring Analysis.

The Marking feature can be used when marking the eye for toric IOL implantation or creation of manual limbal relaxing incisions. This tool allows the user to take a photo of a patient’s eye with a level and make small adjustments as needed after the photo is taken. To check an IOL calculation, the user would select the IOL Module feature, which provides access to the most popular IOL calculators and other presurgical planning features for proper IOL placement and selection. Lastly, the Ring Analysis feature allows for detailed planning for intrastromal corneal ring segment implantation. I have not yet used the last feature in practice, so I can’t speak to its’ utility; however, it offers the most popular calculators and a ring analysis.

Seeing as Eye Axis Check is free and easy to use—with no sign-up or registration required and no ads—this app is a must-have solution for corneal and cataract surgeons.

Nonmedical | When working in a large office, it can be difficult to get in touch with the people you need when you need them. This can be due to the various extensions, different locations, etc. If that’s the case for you, then it’s time to think about an alternative way of staying in touch with your staff, such as via Slack.

Slack has been one of the fastest growing productivity apps over the past 5 years, and for good reason. The platform allows you to connect to your entire office with the ease and comfort of instant messenger. It’s easy to get started, and, once you do, you will experience a wealth of valuable features. Customized alerts allow you to stay on task, a do not disturb function lets you limit work to working hours, group chats get everyone on the same page, and one-on-one messages streamline conversations. Slack is available in both smartphone and desktop versions. The service is free, but a small monthly subscription fee unlocks better search capabilities.

author
Nikola Ragusa, MD, FACS

John Liu, MD

Nonmedical | Since becoming an attending, I’ve increasingly been using Twitter as a forum for connecting with other physicians. This platform serves as both a source of professional support and a source of information and ideas exchange in ophthalmology. Due to the volume of dry eye talk, I find that I’ve unwittingly become more of a dry eye person; Uday Devgan, MD (@devgan), is also a great source for pointers in reviewing cases.

Additionally, Twitter has been a tool for me to connect with physicians from other specialties and to stay educated on advocacy issues. In some ways, I am not exposed to as many new technologies that are emerging in the field; seeing others share their experiences with these technologies (eg, intense pulsed light therapy and trifocal IOLs) has been of great value.

author
John Liu, MD
  • Ophthalmologist, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio
  • jliu5@metrohealth.org; Twitter @johnliumd
  • Financial disclosure: None
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