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Brilliant People: A Conversation with Travis Beaven on Transforming the Patient-Practice Connection With the MARLO App
Travis Beaven, Vice President, Vision Care Digital Products, is no stranger to disruption. He built his career by helping global companies navigate the ever-changing digital age and get ahead of the curve by creating meaningful, connected customer experiences.

Travis is one of the top minds behind the MARLO App—an extension of Alcon’s MARLO platform, an online site that helps Eye Care Professionals extend the reach of their practices by ensuring a trusted and personalized contact lens ordering experience that is available 24/7 with the click of a button—which is currently available for iOS (Apple) and will be available for Android in the next few months. We spoke to Travis about how the MARLO App came to life and its potential to make the practice-patient connection even more powerful.

Foremost, what drew you to Alcon?

I’ve been with Alcon for two and a half years. I came here energized by the noble goal of helping people see brilliantly by creating outstanding experiences for patients and Eye Care Professionals (ECPs) alike.

I believe the eye care industry is ready for disruption, with the potential for impressive innovation. ECPs are currently facing increasing changes and challenges—escalating eye diseases, an aging global population, and staffing shortages to name a few. Typically, these ECPs run practices without IT departments that can help them meet these challenges.

That’s why products like the recently launched MARLO App are conceptually simple but so revolutionary—MARLO, as a platform, helps patients stay connected to their ECPs by ensuring a trusted and personalized contact lens ordering experience is available 24/7 with the click of a button. That, as well as the convenience of exam reminders, helpful contact lens tips, reorder notifications and more. With the launch of the App, these services are now even more accessible, adding another layer of convenience for doctors to offer their patients.

MARLO launched in 2020 and has more than 2.5 million users enrolled to-date. What signaled that an app was the next step for this software?

While patients can still access MARLO from a browser, the App was MARLO’s next, natural evolution. We know that 95% of people are already accessing healthcare information using apps on their phones.1 Traditional communications between providers and patients like emails, text messages and phone calls remain necessary. But the MARLO App seamlessly empowers those patients to take greater ownership over their eye care on the same device many of them are most frequently using.

Meanwhile, for ECPs, MARLO allows their offices to stay open, even while they are sleeping. Say, it's nine o'clock on a Friday night, your practice is closed but a very busy patient just remembered that they need to reorder their lenses. They can do that directly through the App. We know this boosts patient retention and engagement with their trusted doctor.

What’s more? The MARLO App allows ECPs to integrate their own branding.* When a patient opens the app, it has their doctor's name and logo, their doctor's colors, their doctor's experience. It’s meant to provide a comfort level where users know they are talking directly to their doctor, not a third party. It was important for Alcon to take a visual backseat for the MARLO App and deliver something that felt authentic to providers and local to patients. We know that ECPs and staff work incredibly hard to build trust with their patients, and part of that trust is offering a seamless and convenient offering that allows for familiar, 24/7 connection.

What are some of the MARLO App’s key features?

The App provides full ordering capabilities for contact lenses using native Apple iOS features and allows users to save MARLO contact lens prescriptions to Apple Health; it has the ability for patients to keep track of when they are due for their next exam and offers educational resources where patients can learn about eye diseases, such as dry eye, and how to find symptom relief—to name a few features.

Another innovative feature is the vision screener, created by Alcon, with Alcon technology.* The screener, should the doctor choose to turn it on, records patients’ responses and provides a general vision range for patients. Patients are asked to share their vision screener results with their ECPs before their next visit. We do not provide prescriptions through the App. The intent is to empower patients and raise awareness around eye care.

We know that the ability for ECPs to communicate with patients between exams is a huge benefit. How does the MARLO App help facilitate that?

The reality is patients still want a human being, namely the doctor they trust, not A.I. But they also want convenience. Through the MARLO App, we aim to give doctors the tools to be just as convenient as automated technology without losing that personalized touch. Patients get to interact with an actual human being. Meanwhile, ECPs get to deliver a modernized eye care experience that helps them address challenges facing their practices.

With the MARLO App, we believe Alcon is ahead of the curve. As the leader in this category, we want to keep delivering meaningful innovation and providing options for our ECPs. We truly believe ECPs are the most valuable part of this equation. If they are confident, the patient is happier, the order volume improves, and every single piece of the process works more optimally.

What is the future state of technology in the eye care industry? How are you reassuring ECPs that technology like MARLO is a worthwhile investment?

The prospect of telehealth and digitalization can be daunting. But we know it’s the future and we don’t want ECPs to wake up one morning and the entire world has shifted around them. My favorite phrase? “We make suggestions. They make decisions.”

Getting them comfortable with new tech means proactively empowering them to make smarter decisions for their patients and practices and giving them tools that help prepare them for that future.

It’s also about immediately and clearly demonstrating the value of the technology. For example, ECPs may have a lot of insight into the patient when they're there in the clinic. But once the patient walks outside, there’s a blind spot—no pun intended—for them. They're relying on the patient to give them some indication of what's going once they leave their appointment.

What has been the reception from ECPs on the MARLO App thus far?

It's huge for them. Before the App, we lived in a world with apps from Toyota to Starbucks and everything in between, but not eye care. MARLO changed that. In any industry, having this level of customization available at a local level is unprecedented. Over time, MARLO will give our ECPs access to more information about what the patient is doing, even outside the walls of their practice. That’s powerful.


*Only available with MARLO Pro and ProPlus Membership.


  1. Mixpanel Industry Case Report: mobile, web, & more. Generated December 2023.