New AOA project team centers on integrated eye care, methods for better patient care coordination

June 9, 2013

Better integration and coordination of patient care has become a cornerstone of efforts to reform America’s health care system. As part of an effort to encourage all eye care professionals to work together for better patient care, the AOA is launching a new Integrated Eyecare Project Team. The team will analyze models of care and set out the elements essential to developing an ideal system that is efficient, productive, and patient-centric.

The project team consists of an outstanding group with deep and meaningful experience in the delivery of integrated eye care services, according to AOA Trustee and project team Chair Christopher Quinn, O.D. The main focus of the project team will be to analyze existing models of integrated care and to define those elements that result in integrated care teams that deliver high-quality, efficient patient care.

“Over the past several years, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS) and several prominent ophthalmologists have been promoting their version/vision of ‘integrated eye care,’” said Dr. Quinn. “Unfortunately, in my understanding, their model takes a very limited perspective of the potential benefits of integrated eye care delivery, focusing on the benefit to individual ophthalmologists. Optometry’s vision for how our professions can work together will be focused on better patient care and outcomes.”

“We should develop our model around what is best for the patient,” said project team member Clarke Newman, O.D. “First, what makes the patient experience safe, efficient, cost-effective, and patient-centered care that translates into the highest quality of care should be the cornerstone of what we propose. Second, we need to focus on what best utilizes available resources to improve the value proposition of integrated eye care services to the greater health care payers and service networks moving forward as the sea change of health care reform and demographic and economic realities play out.”

The project team’s agenda includes addressing important questions such as:

  • Who are members of an integrated eye care team?
  • Based on other types of medical care teams, are there appropriate ratios of provider types (primary care/surgical care) that promote the most efficient patient care?
  • Leadership roles—who are the best members of the team to be the team leaders? Should business entity owners be patient care team leaders?
  • Inter-professional ethics issues: Working in the best interests of the patient, how can team members be assured independence in their professional decision-making?
  • How can teams reconcile differences in professional evidence-based practice guidelines?
  • What is the ideal scope of practice of team members that promotes the most efficient and best quality care?
  • How can/should integrated teams and their members promote inter-professional education in the best interest of quality patient care?
  • What opportunities exist for integrated eye care teams to participate in new models of care delivery (i.e., accountable care organizations and medical homes)?

The group will focus on developing a service model that meets the needs of patients and then determine how optometrists and ophthalmologists can work together to meet those needs.

The AOA Integrated Eyecare Project Team members are:

  • Christoper J. Quinn, O.D., chair
  • Clarke Newman, O.D.
  • Cynthia Murrill, O.D.
  • Jim Thimons, O.D.
  • Samuel Pierce, O.D., AOA trustee
  • Randy Reichle, O.D.
  • Robert Prouty, O.D.

For more information, contact Kara Webb at kcwebb@aoa.org.

One comment

  1. When was this team put together and will there be information obtained throughout the country? How many total will be on the them?

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