Interview with IRIS Project Management Director: Amanda Hindsman
Amanda Hindsman is IRIS’s project management director. She has a plethora of first-hand experience with IRIS clients, and understands the entire process of onboarding and performing diabetic retinopathy screening with IRIS technology thoroughly. As she has seen IRIS’s success with a multitude of different clients, we sat down with her in an interview and asked her some questions about the benefits of implementing new technology in healthcare.
In your opinion, why is it so important for practices to have ease in administering annual diabetic retinopathy exams (DREs) to diabetic patients?
We’ve experienced a lot of unrest in healthcare recently. From COVID to staffing shortages, etc. As we move through uncharted territories. Regardless of the current state in healthcare, preventative screenings that can be easily administered should be similar to taking a patient’s vitals. IRIS believes the administration of diabetic retinopathy screenings should be simple, intuitive, and accessible. Healthcare organizations should provide annual retinal screenings for diabetic patients because it’s the right thing to do – it can save their sight!
What is the most common misconception you’ve seen healthcare providers have when considering implementing a diabetic retinopathy screening solution?
One perceived barrier, especially for our Primary Care Providers (PCPs), is believing the screening program will require a significant amount of time and resources to implement and maintain. But we have found that even at our busiest client locations, the screening can be seamlessly added to an existing workflow. When considering adding a new service like diabetic retinopathy screenings, working with IRIS is the best choice if you’re looking for a true partnership with a vendor who cares about the ongoing success of your program and the well-being of your patients.
What do the first 90-days with IRIS look like? Why are the first 90-days so important to success?
A successfully managed project leads to a successful implementation and long-term program success. We service all types of healthcare organizations so we know our clients are busy. We make it easy by breaking implementation into chunks, meeting our clients on a regular basis for project updates.
During the 90-day implementation process, we leverage a checklist of the critical decisions that need to be made from a workflow and process standpoint to further guide the process. Our team also focuses on educating the staff by equipping them with the necessary knowledge required to explain the screening to patients.
What does IRIS do differently than competitors with this process?
First and foremost, IRIS is the only point-of-care DRE provider on the market that is not also a camera manufacturer. We are not here to sell you a device and walk away. We partner with our clients to achieve long-term success.
What are some of the biggest wins for clients during these first 90-days?
I’ve been blown away by the early wins we’ve captured with clients, even during their training. When we train onsite we spend the full day with the client. Here’s a brief overview of what the schedule typically looks like:
The morning is focused on refreshing the team on the anatomy of the eye, image quality, the camera, and its functionality. Team members also take this opportunity to practice with each other.
Later on, the afternoon is spent taking images of actual patients that need the diabetic retinopathy screening. The IRIS trainer is there every step of the way, helping coach them on providing screenings to actual patients! I’ve been amazed by what we have suspected and diagnosed with the staff members and patients while on-site, it further reinforces the value of this exam on the client’s diabetic population.
When onboarding IRIS, what has to happen on the clinic side to ensure a smooth transition?
Education and communication are key when implementing the diabetic retinopathy screening into an office’s workflows. The process and equipment are not complex, nor difficult to learn, but we are asking staff to change/add a new form of care after all. The key to a successful and smooth transition is educating the staff early, engaging employees with actionable information during their training, and hardwiring the scheduling of patients for this screening.
How are employees trained to use the IRIS software?
We have two different training options based on budget, space, and scheduling, with both being a two-part process.
- Option one: Onsite Training
We send a trainer onsite for one full day to meet with staff and educate them on the camera, the process, and workflows. The first part of the day is spent in a group setting learning about diabetic retinopathy, their camera, workflows, and practicing screening each other. The second half of the day is spent screening real patients so that the first exams performed can tap into the knowledge of the trainer who is onsite, as needed for questions or help. If they encounter small pupils, droopy eyelids, etc., the trainer is there to coach them and share best practices.
- Option 2: Virtual Training
This was incredibly popular with COVID travel restrictions and allows IRIS trainers to deliver an equally valuable training session. We conduct online in a live virtual session for 2 hours.
The first hour is learning about diabetic retinopathy, the camera, and workflows. The second hour is spent with employees practicing on each other.
Regardless of the format chosen, both include mandatory prework. We send all attendees invitations to IRIS University where video modules allow them to gain foundational knowledge on diabetic retinopathy, the anatomy of the eye, basic camera functions, and IRIS as a whole.
What seems to be the client’s favorite part about the solution?
We hear that our clients love that they can provide a preventive screening for their patients at the point of care.
How does IRIS’s software and training process impact an organization’s operational workflows?
IRIS’ software and training process complement an organization’s existing operational workflow. Throughout the implementation process, we review a scope document that details several questions. The answers to those questions, once formalized, provide indicators of a team’s success.
Leading up to go-live, the IRIS team will educate the client on key decisions including but not limited to exam room requirements, patient identification, and workflow. use of dilation drops, patient identification, etc. Our Client Success Team has a consultative approach to these questions and will continue to review until finalized. While IRIS trainers are experts with the camera and with conducting diabetic retinopathy screenings, IRIS relies on these conversations with a provider’s team to be able to educate the staff based on the decided workflow.
Does IRIS offer ongoing support and training for its clients’ staff?
Yes, the access to IRIS University never goes away while a provider is an IRIS client. The staff can view the modules as many times and as often as they like to refresh their skills. And, if needed, clients can also work with their Client Success Manager to coordinate an additional onsite or virtual training session.
How quickly can IRIS get up and running in a healthcare setting?
Our current implementation average is 100 days. The speed of implementation is dependent on a team’s resource availability and assignments. To help support the integration process, IRIS meets regularly with a provider’s team via implementation cadence calls to stay on time and proactively manage questions throughout the process.
What has been the most unique setting you’ve experienced working with to get IRIS up and running? Why was it so beneficial for their patients?
The most unique setting that I have implemented at IRIS is with those clients outside of the country. It’s a new world navigating time zone differences, cultural differences like holidays and workweeks, etc. The mission to save sight and end preventable blindness knows no language or time zone barrier. Every patient in the world regardless of where they are from deserves the opportunity to see important milestones in their lives.
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