Eyecare Professionals Select Kowa Marketing Campaign Number 1 in Medical Device Category as conducted by Signet AdProbe Survey

In a recent survey done by Signet Research Inc. for Optometric Management, Kowa Optimed was honored by being recognized as having the best advertisement in their category and third place overall. The advertisement for the WX3D retinal camera by Kowa Optimed was the ad critiqued by the survey.

The purpose of the Signet AdProbe study was to provide those who purchased ad space in Optometric Management with feedback regarding the noticeability and information content of their advertisement. The report was based on the responses of 243 subjects questioned during the study. In order to reduce bias and respondent fatigue, a split sample technique was used and the sequence in which respondents viewed the ads was rotated. The desired end result of this survey is to help advertisers to better communicate with their audience through more effective advertising.

Of survey responses, 33% ranked Kowa’s ad’s noticeability as “excellent” and 47% responded to Kowa’s noticeability as “good.” Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed rated the ad’s information content as “excellent” and 56% rated the information content as “good.” The advertisement for Kowa’s WX3D was categorized overall as “excellent” by 33% of survey responders and “good” by 47%. Survey responders remarked about the advertisement with comments such as, “informative and pleasing to the eye” and “strong images, easy to understand.” The ad was mostly highlighted for its clear imaging and easy to read information. Another large portion of comments served to attest to Kowa’s quality and ease of use by those who are already familiar with their products.

Information regarding Kowa Optimed eyecare division visit: www.kowa-usa.com/eyecare.

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Kowa Teams Up To Battle High-Cholesterol

TV personality John O’Hurley, along with the National Lipid Association (NLA), Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company, announced the results of the USAGE survey, “Understanding Statin use in America and Gaps in Education.” USAGE is the largest known U.S. survey involving more than 10,100 statin users and is the first major survey to provide data on why patients stop taking their cholesterol statin medications, the most commonly prescribed medication to treat high cholesterol.

Seinfeld actor and Dancing with the Stars contestant, John O’Hurley has taken the role of public spokesperson for the USAGE campaign due to his own diagnosis of high-cholesterol. Upon becoming an active member of the USAGE team O’Hurley stated “millions of people, like me, are affected by high cholesterol, and it’s my hope that the USAGE survey gives them clearer direction on how to bring up concerns with their doctor.” Off the set he has dedicated himself to public health causes including his position as Public Relations Director of The Red Cross.

Currently doctors write more than 200 million prescriptions for statins each year however, patients actually adhering to and continuing statin treatment remains a major issue.  Most commonly problems with statin adherence are associated with an increased risk of negative cardiovascular results, including heart disease and death. USAGE recorded 62% of responses listing side-effects as the reason for stopping treatment. An additional 17% stated cost was their reason for terminating statin treatment.  A lack of treatment effectiveness was listed as third most important.

Research indicates that nearly 75% of new statin users stop therapy by the end of the first year. Among all those that did end their treatment, 34% admitted to not consulting their doctor first about ended statin treatment. Ironically enough, 81% of patients surveyed reported being satisfied with their doctor’s explanation of treatment.

The USAGE survey has been created in order to fill the gaps in statin treatment education. The USAGE website provides downloadable tools and resources, including patient directed discussion guides and a medication tracker. Also included is a presentation for healthcare providers to educate the medical community about the USAGE survey and its findings.

Kowa Company Ltd. is comprised of Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., Kowa Optimed and Kowa Health Care. Kowa Pharmaceudicals America is the entity directly involved with USAGE. Kowa Pharmaceutical specializes primarily in the area of cardiometabolic diseases. A privately held company, KPA focuses its attention towards the acquisition, licensing and marketing of pharmaceutical products.


Implementing The Newest Technology Around Customer Experience

The number of ECPs implementing technologies in order to create greater customer satisfaction as well as increase ocular health wellness and knowledge has vastly grown in recent years. People are demanding technology in every aspect of their day, now including their optical needs. Everything from iPads with informational videos to diagnostic systems that illustrate retinal images to text-reminder appointment confirmations are being utilized by today’s leading practices.

In this day and age it is hard to differentiate yourself from other ECPs with all the technology that is so readily available. Basing your practice around patient experience allows a practice to offer the same eye care services in an innovative way. ECPs are constantly looking for ways to further impress and please customers resulting in patient satisfaction as well as referral business. Educating patients has been deemed one of the more challenging tasks within eye care. Having to explain and demonstrate retinal issues in layman’s terms can become a tedious task. The application of videos and digital imaging to illustrate retinal tissue is more informative but also enhances patient image of the practice.

ECPs are using more advanced diagnostic instruments to provide patients with personalized perspective of their needs. Instruments such as aberrometers, retinal scanners and corneal topographers can capture and display highly detailed images of a patient’s eye thus enabling doctor’s to more accurately diagnose and treat any ailments. These images can then be used during patient-doctor dialogue to further understand the condition at hand and any possible treatments. This new software is freeing up precious time doctors do not have in order to better care for patients.

Mobile care is the next frontier in eye care. The number of eye care practices installing mobile systems is continually increasing. Seemingly basic services such as scheduling appointments and text-reminders for patients, electronic newsletters, event announcements and  question-and-answer forums for after business hours are creating a more patient friendly experience within optical care.

Doctors are not the only ones using technological advances in order to fulfill the consumer. Dispensing companies have also started to use advanced systems that take precise position-of-wear measurements and, when desired, additional biometric measurements guaranteeing optimal frame fit and maximal performance. These high tech systems were first embraced by independent eye care practices that were backed by major spectacle lens vendors however; optical retail chains have begun to introduce their own exclusive measurement systems. Most typically these systems analyze the relationship between a patient’s eyes, face and frame in order to create the optimal lens fit. Some software even includes a frame-and-lens system that minimizes lens stress thereby eliminating distortion.


Smartphone Eye Exams for Underdeveloped Countries

Measuring someone for eyeglasses normally requires expensive, bulky equipment that isn’t easily transported. The researchers at the MIT Media Lab have developed a simple $1 piece of plastic that when attached to a smartphone, functions as a diagnostic instrument. In underdeveloped countries, eye care is very often a luxury for most citizens. That’s why Ramesh Raskar and Manuel Oliveira, two professors at the Media Lab along with post-doc Ankit Mohan created the Near-Eye Tool for Refractive Assessment, or NETRA

NETRA is as simple as a patient peering into a small lens attached to a smartphone. This smartphone must have the corresponding application that is equipped with the testing feature. On screen, the patient sees parallel red and green lines. The patient is instructed to use arrow keys on the phone to adjust those lines until they overlap. This test is extremely quick and after just two minutes of testing, the application produces the proper eyeglass prescription based off the test results. The way the test works, someone with 20/20 eyesight would be able to correctly overlap the lines which would only appear blurry. However, to someone with less than perfect sight, the lines would appear separated, skewing their test results. The application then reads how far off the patient’s results are and fits them for the ideal lens strength.

With this system, a patient doesn’t need lenses to bring a blurry image into focus, contrary to typical diagnostic instruments and machines that optometrists more commonly use. Instead, the smartphone attachment uses a basic system of lenses and pinholes.


Kowa Optimed Supports the Ocular Imaging Challenge

Kowa Optimed is encouraging submission for the upcoming Ocular Imaging Challenge hosted by The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. According to the OIC homepage, this challenge calls innovators and software developers to “create an application that improves interoperability among office-based ophthalmic imaging devices, measurement devices, and EHRs.” The application process began May 14, 2012 and will close on November 9, 2012.

Challenge.gov

For this challenge, ONC has required necessary attributes for first place. The application should convert output from legacy ophthalmic imaging and measurement devices from proprietary formats to vendor-neutral standard formats. The application should also be able to archive data from multiple imaging and measurement devices. Images and data should be displayed for clinicians and permit basic functionalities such as optimizing viewing parameters. For example, settings such as brightness and contrast should be adjustable for viewing ease. Finally, the application should generate integration with existing EHRs (Existing Health Records). Where applicable, the application should additionally leverage and extend NwHIN (Nationwide Health Information Network) standards and services.

All applicants will be reviewed by the ONC review panel during the four day evaluation period (November 16, 2012-November 20, 2012). Selections will be based collectively on the previously mentioned criteria and other standards such as mobile usability, functionality, accuracy, security and general practicality. Categories for selection have been labeled as, breadth of input devices and formats, usability and interface for image viewing, integration with workflow and platform neutrality.

OIC is offering a total of $150,000 in prize money to its first, second and third place winners. First place will not only receive $100,000 but also win conference exhibition opportunity. Second and third place will receive $35,000 and $15,000 respectively.

Craig Ross, President of Kowa Optimed, voiced his positive opinion of Kowa’s involvement in the OIC stating, “It’s important to take a leadership position with ocular imaging technology. These contestants are creating the next platform for ocular technology and eye health.”

For more information regarding the Ocular Imaging Challenge visit: http://challenge.gov/ONC/363-ocular-imaging-challenge