Integrated eye care
With so many eye conditions left untreated or undiagnosed and a decreasing number of board-certified ophthalmologists, eye care practitioners need to turn to integrated eye care now more than ever. Integrating Ophthalmology (MD), Optometry (OD), and Opticianry under one roof is the catalyst that is changing the future of eye care.
Relationships with patients are the key to an integrated eye care practice. Optometrists have an ongoing relationship with patients; oftentimes built over years of trust. Optometrists know the medical history, vision needs, and expectations. If optometrists are able to have a working relationship with ophthalmologists, then patient care and experience are undoubtedly enhanced. Take for example a long-time patient that has seen the optometrist minimally annually and has to have cataract surgery. Only his optometrist has an extensive history of spectacle prescriptions and understands what the patient desires. This valuable relationship and knowledge will guarantee that the patient’s expectations are set and met for cataract surgery. If both fields integrate under one roof, it makes it easy for patients to quickly get the care they need. Also to be able to have an open discussion with both practitioners.
With both ODs and MDs integrated into open practice, the electronic medical record system becomes more efficient. Immediately after a patient’s referral to an ophthalmologist, all doctors can see the diagnosis and ocular history of the patient; there is no waiting time between referral letters.
Environment fertile for excellence
Having an integrated eye care practice also creates a fertile environment for excellence. Optometrists become primary care providers for patients, which puts them in a leadership role to manage patients. For ophthalmologists, they can now rely on optometrists to continue management allowing them to focus on the next surgical case. The more surgery they do, the better they become at surgery, and the safer it is for patients.
Another pro of having an integrated practice is the well-being it provides to patients. They already know the practice and have no need of going somewhere new. They save time by not traveling further to get specialty care that may be reinventing the wheel in the sense of re-doing some of the auxiliary tests/examinations.
The bonus point for an integrated eye care practice is to add in-office opticians. Opticians are trained technicians who administer optometrists’ spectacle prescriptions. They cut optical lenses, and make sure patients receive the optical corrections they need. Having an optical lab on-premises allows record time services. Patients can come in to see their optometrist, get their prescriptions, and receive optical eyeglasses in record time.
Integrated eye care takeaway
With constant reforms in the healthcare industry, practices with multiple practitioners integrated can adapt quickly to changes. Anyone who knows how to operate integrated eye care will succeed. They will have the ability to react faster to healthcare trends, facilitate patients’ lives, give better eye care, and have the ideal environment to hone their skills or subspecialty skills.