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GWCO Day Two

on October 14th, 2005 | Filed under Optoblog

I forgot to mention yesterday that to get CE credit, they have you wear a name badge with a bar code on it which is scanned with a red laser deal with a VERY loud beep. Isn’t there a silent mode on those things or at least a volume dial? Lining up to “get scanned” feels like a violation somehow. It feels wrong. Maybe I watch too many movies.

To add insult to injury, you’ve also got to get a paper stamped for your personal records. Over at the AAO meeting, they usually have you swipe a card. You do it yourself. No violation feeling. They send you a printout a week later with the CE events you swiped in and out of. I hope GWCO is transitioning out of the paper stamping. I also have this ARBO card. How come I’m not swiping it instead of getting scanned like some kind of cattle?

Anyway, it was another great day of CEs at GWCO. The conference is large enough to run at least 3 classes at a time for the ODs and then another for the para-optometrics. I stayed up waaaay to late last night blogging, so I was a little tired for the first two classes. The first class by Dr. Teplick kept me awake, but the second class I took put me to sleep. While it was very interesting content, taught by a very knowledgeable doctor, my tiredness combined with the speaker’s near monotone voice put me down. One hour into it I realized that it could be considered unethical to take CE credit for a class I slept through, so I exited and left my paper with the door attendant. The main floor of the Oregon Convention Center has a surprising lack of seating, but the third floor administrative area has an endless row of couches along a hallway. Since it was vacant, I lay down for one hour of deep sleep. I awoke to find a security guard perched two couches down. I secretly wonder if he was sent there to monitor me. I have delusions that someone called down to security and said, “There’s some stranger laying down on a couch up here, clutching to a backpack. He looks suspicious.”
Of course, this would be movie plot security which I hope the OCC security team doesn’t subscribe to (unlike the NYC subway incident). When I got up and headed to the elevator, the security guard asked, “Have a nice nap?”
“Yah, it was great.”
“Sometimes a power nap is all you need to get refreshed.”

So, I’m pretty sure he was just sitting there by coincidence, but I can’t help but imagine these movie plot scenarios where some innocent napper is mistaken for a “person of interest.” This thought process is what happens when you have too much time to yourself.

Anyway, the exhibit hall opened today. While it was pretty big, it wasn’t really big. I’m sure there would be more vendors if they weren’t all recovering from partying too hard at Optowest (Las Vegas) one month ago. I’ve taken an interest in PIMS/EMR software. There are just three that I noticed at GWCO: Maximeyes, Compulink, and OfficeMate. I couldn’t speak to the OfficeMate people because they were always slammed with people around their booth. There were more people at OfficeMate than the Optomap booth!

Now comes my next gripe of the day. When I’m pricing things like equipment and PIMS/EHR software, how come the pricing schema is so complicated? How come they have to get back with me and send me a quote over the e-mail? How come there is a regular price, plus add-on module prices, plus maintenance pricing, plus support/training pricing, plus convention discount, plus new practitioner discount. . . And what’s the deal with a “quote.” Quoting a price makes it sound like I could have gotten a better deal if I were someone else, like my competition down the street. If they would just immediately state a price that everyone pays, I wouldn’t feel like I was getting played.

Can you imagine if everyone had to put up with this garbage to buy a computer or palm pilot? I guess we already kind of do with buying a car, but I wish our ophthalmic industry model was more like consumer electronics: open access to pricing, lots of independent reviews available from multiple sources so we can research which products to buy (for example, which topographer or AutoK/Rx do I buy? There are so many out there, but so little reviews). When I access ophthalmic distributer websites, they don’t list prices. Why not? Do they expect me to call every firm and get a price quote? Save me some time and publish the prices! Of course, they might contend, we are entering a relationship with you when you buy something from us. Well, I want a product, not a relationship! I don’t want to get soaked because I’m a business instead of a consumer. Just because I’m a business doesn’t mean I’m made of money.

The bank I used to finance our minivan has a service where they’ll call to every dealer nearby and haggle and get us the lowest price on the car we want. Websites out there get you the cheapest price guaranteed for hotels and flights. I propose someone out there start a service like this for the ophthalmic industry. Gimme the cheapest price. Why should I pay more than necessary?

1 Comment

One Response to “GWCO Day Two”

  1. Maximeyes Software User says:

    I did a quick search for other users here who have experience with Maximeyes and if they have upgraded yet. I will post my comments here for anyone to reply to.

    I have been told by Maximeyes that I would be able to upgrade our software system to a new version that they have out now. I believe this is version 6.0. However, in spite of my hopes to have been upgraded this year to version 6.0, during which time I have kept my yearly annual fees current (to the tune of over 2400 dollars a year), they are now telling me that I cannot upgrade to this new version until next year. This has come as a great disappointment since we have been told since 2004 that the upgrade is almost ready and they never delivered on the promise. I can honestly say that myself and a few of my acquaintences who are using Maximeyes are seriously looking at other software packages that may fit our needs. As a side note, I know of two practices that did get to upgrade this year to version 6.0 and they said that it sometimes took weeks to get a reply from their techs who handle the upgrades. Hardly a good indication of what I could expect next year when, or IF, they ever re-release version 6.0.