File under: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” On the heels of a new Kentucky law that attempts to find common ground with optometrists, online refractive start-up Opternative recently announced two major developments.
The company will now offer software that enables an eye care practice to include digital refractions and visual acuity tests on its own website. The software, EZRx, will license a digital refraction and visual acuity screener in such a way that matches an individual optometry practice’s branding and website flow. Previously, ophthalmologists reviewed Opternative’s online refractions since they could operate across state lines. However, EZRx brings optometrists into the mix by associating the software with their individual practices. In turn, practice owners are charged a subscription fee.
In the same week, Opternative announced a partnership with another web-based company, Lensabl, a lab that will “cheaply replace old lenses with an updated prescription,” according to the company’s website.
A new law recently signed by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin appears to represent a compromise between the optometric community and Opternative. The Consumer Protection in Eye Care Act provides specific regulations for telehealth and online eye tests. It requires all patients to be at least 18 years old and for all patients to complete an in-person eye exam at least once every 24 months. It also keeps the patient’s business in-state by requiring all diagnostic information and data be reviewed by a Kentucky licensed physician.
“This is a turning point victory for higher standards, greater accountability and improved outcomes in health care,” a representative for the AOA told VMail, a publication of Vision Monday, in regards to the new legislation.