EyeCarePD.com provides eyecare professionals with the fastest, most effective way to learn to interpret OCT (optical coherence tomography) images.
It’s quite a niche, but we believe that a world of optometrists and ophthalmologists with enhanced interpretation skills is a world of superior patient care.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m an ophthalmologist, but I have always had a passion for education. I am always finding new and engaging ways to give lectures, but I wanted to go farther, reach more people and help people actually build skills. I started EyeCarePD.com to do just that.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
We would have gotten more serious about marketing. My partner and I are both education geeks, but we should have put a bit more energy into getting the word out. We built it, they came… but if we had marketed better, more would have come!
In retrospect, it’s much better to have a great product that was under-marketed than the other way around. We are working with pharma companies, universities and practitioners all over the world, so we have definitely improved our marketing. To be honest though, we have a very high number of users that learned about us through testimonials from collogues.
What problem does your business solve?
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) devices are amazing machines that allow optometrists and ophthalmologists to scan the retina in your eye and produce an explorable model that lets us look for ocular diseases like Age Related Macular Degeneration, Diabetes and Glaucoma.
The problem is that these images are rather cryptic and hard to decipher. Schools do not do a great job of teaching OCT interpretation and older practitioners never had training. So, you have many people with an expensive power tool that they can’t use very effectively. This means there are people under-diagnosing or misdiagnosing, and missing opportunities to preserve sight.
We built a game-based platform called INTERPRET© that let’s people learn to read these complex images through interactive activities.
It starts by having you find single features (think of “Where’s Waldo”) and gets progressively more complex. It has gaming features allowing you to get points, streaks and accuracy scores.
We did usability testing with learners of different skill levels and they improved their ability to interpret these very complex images quite quickly. Independent surveys show a preference for INTERPRET© over all other educational tools (books, lectures, etc.).
What is the inspiration behind your business?
I’m a practicing ophthalmologist, but I have always loved looking for innovative ways to educate. I partnered with an instructional designer who has a background building simulations and learning games for astronauts, pilots and other technical fields.
Together we came up with the concept of applying game logic to the interpretation of medical imagery.
What is your magic sauce?
Nobody enjoys long lectures, watching tons of YouTube videos or reading textbooks. The truth is that these are not effective ways to acquire skills.
Skills are built through deliberate practice and feedback. We found a fun way to accelerate expertise. Nobody else is really doing that in this field.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
While we are currently working deeply inside a niche, INTERPRET © is a tool that can rapidly teach interpretation of any kind of image. It could be x-rays, MRIs or even satellite imagery, or baggage x-rays.
It’s essentially a platform for the tagging and annotation of images that get dynamically pulled into a game engine. In the coming years, we’d like to spread out beyond our niche and explore ways to use this amazing platform in other markets, both medical and non-medical.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
People who buy INTERPRET© rave about it as the best learning experience they’ve ever had. However, eye care professionals have grown used to the idea of continuing education as something that is free or cheap. We are neither. We are just the best. So, the biggest challenge has been in convincing people to pay for education.
How do people get involved/buy into your vision?
We are always looking for new ways to get INTERPRET© into people’s hands and, as mentioned, new ways to use this awesome platform in new domains, medical or otherwise. Drop us a line at [email protected]!