Refractive surgeons seeking to boost their patient volume sometimes find it difficult to efficiently turn new patient leads generated into surgery cases. A software program may help them keep track of surgery prospects and follow up with them more efficiently. The program is called RefractiveWare, from Danzo International (Colorado Springs, Colo.). Here's a look at what it can and can't do.

Mark Danzo, president and CEO of Danzo International, says RefractiveWare offers lead tracking, billing, patient scheduling and management of patient charts and outcomes information. It also helps train staffers who handle leads to enter the correct information through a series of prompts.

One function that can be useful is called "Lead Lock." It prevents the loss of leads by prompting the user to take action on them. "It allows me to constantly review my hot prospects," says user Michael Dunn, president of New Vision Laser Center in Hagerstown, Md. "I can then do a mail merge and generate a letter to send to each lead."

Mr. Danzo says the big difference between RefractiveWare and off-the-shelf software is that his product has the ability to quickly generate reports on business indicators. Users of other contact management software must crunch data and do calculations to generate these indicators, he says, but RefractiveWare does all the math for the user.

The software generates three major lead conversion reports: patient generation effectiveness, capture effectiveness and conversion effectiveness. With these, managers can see how well the practice is generating leads, what percentage of these leads are captured and turned into patients and how well patient visits are converted to surgeries. The reports also allow the practice to monitor the lead conversion effectiveness of individual patient counselors and other staff members. 

Several other business reports can also be useful, Mr. Danzo says. For example, RefractiveWare's media buying/cost-per-lead analysis report tracks how many leads came from each media source and the cost-per-lead of each. 

"For me, that's huge," says user Rudy Webb, marketing director of Updegraff Vision of Tampa Bay, Fla. "Before we started using the software there was a lot more guesswork." He adds that the software has improved his efficiency and even the accuracy of his media reports because it cuts down on human error.

Still, the software has limitations. Mr. Webb says the system can't take all of the guesswork out of marketing. For example, RefractiveWare can't predict what media sources you should try in future advertising. It can only evaluate the ones you're currently using.

Mr. Dunn says that the system can't create some complex, customized business reports he wants. Technical support was quick to respond to his problem, but ultimately the database can't compare certain combinations of parameters because of the way it's set up, he said. 

RefractiveWare is used on a subscription basis of around $495 per month for one user. The company also charges a fee of $95-$195 per additional user based on a sliding scale. Practice owners lease the software through a yearly contract, which includes software, service, support and software updates. 

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