CMU-SV Alumni Helping Eye Care Professionals See More Clearly
As of December 2010, Ethan Eldridge (SM ’10) will have spent a decade at Eyefinity/OfficeMate, a business that provides a wide spectrum of custom software, online business tools, and complementary technologies in support of the ophthalmic industry. These tools allow eye care professionals to manage everything from medical records to patient reminders, all the way through the ordering process; all the systems they touch as part of running their practice.
Eldridge’s recent promotion from Software Architect to Software Manager in charge of seven employees will provide him with the opportunity to assist Eyefinity/OfficeMate in its mission to introduce new integration and new features for more accurate data and ultimately better customer service.
In the eyecare industry, there are three components crucial to success; the materials, such as frames and lenses; the insurance, to assist in supplementing payment of the necessary prescriptions; and the Optical Lab, where the required prescriptions are turned into the fashion eyewear demanded by the customer. According to Eldridge, “these three parties are not currently unified and therefore it is not a homogenous market. This leads to challenges in connecting the provider with the supplier and insurer.” Eyefinity/OfficeMate’s software helps the eyecare professionals in the day-to-day level of production it takes to run a business as well as the supply chain issues getting the required data to flow accurately through all parties involved in producing the final product - the eyewear for the consumer. Eldridge says, “the goal is to decrease errors by having the systems talk to each other without any human involvement.”
With enhanced specifications and new catalogue data feeds, Eyefinity/OfficeMate hopes to provide the accurate data and insight into marketing trends required to improve consumer satisfaction. “Providing the aggregate data to the vendors can help them remain competitive in the expanding eye care market,” offers Eldridge.
One of the challenges facing Eyefinity/OfficeMate is that it is a matrix organization. This causes difficulty for employees to experience the overall mission of the company. Eldridge says, “we are a team in name only. I am very excited to be in a leadership role now. I plan to try to introduce some new concepts and innovation to increase the feeling of connectedness. I know there are ways to establish a team dynamic to make a (virtual) team feel more coherent. I am currently piloting virtual pair-programming into my group.”
Ethan has been married for 13 years to Sara, and they have two sons; Evan (age 9) and Collin (age 8). Both boys are very active. Evan competes in hip hop dancing, while Collin enjoys swimming. They live in Rancho Cordova, California.