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NEW YORK—The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled much change and many health care-related issues and business shifts. But shutdowns, stay-at-home, work-from-home, school-from home, virtual meetings and entertainment, along with cultural changes, have also expedited many new behaviors and attitudes toward technology among consumers of all ages. As a result, patients’ expectations of what constitutes a next-level type of experience with retailers and vision care providers (actually, all types of health care providers) has been one of the first and most visible impacts of the pandemic on business of all types.

VM sees this embrace of “brick with click” as a megatrend and we continue to report on and examine new types of digital tech being adopted—at a faster and wider pace—by optical retailers and independent ECPs as well. Consumer and patient attitudes about technology in health care delivery and in access to services and related products have visibly relaxed, as is evidenced by some of the practitioners and office managers that VM talked to this month. They are reporting enhanced customer relationships, improved patient/dispenser/doctor dynamics when they can connect prior to, during and after patient visits, a development that the pandemic underscored.

VM will continue to monitor the faster adoption of digital tools in optical. If you or someone you know has discovered the value of new ones, please let us know at We will continue to cover these developments throughout the year. On the following pages are examples of just a few of the tools and software services that are creating efficiencies, streamlining processes and adding to the bottom line of many independent practices today.