about AO : case studies

retina vitreous associates (RVA)

Retina Vitreous Associates, a group of six optometrists with offices in San Jose, Monterey, San Mateo, Mountain View, and Daly City, has moved from a decade-long dependence on Word Perfect to a modern implementation of Microsoft Word.

Project Objective

Medical transcribers were typing their doctors' letters into WordPerfect. Because each typist worked independently, letters were not formatted the same despite all being printed onto the same letterhead. Finished files were saved to floppy and physically mailed to a central location, where a script copied the files onto a server for archive.

The project aimed to unify these distant transcribers and provide them with tools to automate their workflow, create more unified documents, and deliver letters in less time. 

Costs were certainly a limitation, and because the independent transcribers' used their own machines, a traditional "lock down" system could not be used.


The project, split between Applied Office of Lodi, CA and MicroHelp Computers of Stockton, CA, involved a number of tasks: thousands of old Word Perfect documents had to be converted to the new system, a Windows 2003 Terminal Server was to be configured, offices and at-home transcribers needed VPN access to share files and printers, and new templates were needed to standardize and automate the process.

Applied Office used Microsoft Word 2003 and Visual Basic for Applications to create the templates.  Based on feedback from six professional transcribers, features included custom styles, macros to print the document and envelopes to the correct office, user-friendly fields that are plugged into the document body, automated page header information, and proper use of document properties for quick search and retrieval.

Included in the project was training and on-going support for the employees and transcribers to learn Microsoft Word and the new system. Applied Office visited each office to provide on-site training, created documentation for the entire system, and provided workbooks and quick reference cards to the staff.


The system that once took a week and produced inconsistent results has now been reduced to hours, with transcribers able to upload the file as soon as it is finished, and print the document to the office that needs it. Minor corrections are now completed by employees, and every document is consistent in formatting.