Important step for standardization of training and evaluation of Chinese ophthalmologists
SAN FRANCISCO – The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) today announced that the Chinese Ministry of Health has endorsed the AAO’s Preferred Practice Patterns™ as the national standard for ophthalmic practice and training in China. The decision by the Ministry is the first time China has mandated standards of patient care and professional training for any medical specialty.
The AAO’s Preferred Practice Patterns are a series of guidelines that identify the characteristics and components of quality eye care. The Chinese Ophthalmological Society (COS) had previously endorsed the Preferred Practice Patterns as the standard for the profession in the country. There are currently more than 20,000 ophthalmologists in China.
“We are honored that the Chinese Ministry of Health has recognized the value of the Preferred Practice Patterns as a standard for quality care,” said David W. Parke II, MD, executive vice president of the Academy. “The Academy is committed to the professional development of ophthalmologists internationally, and this action will increase the use of evidence-based guidelines as the standard for ophthalmic care globally.”
The agreement with the Ministry of Health will be formalized at a signing ceremony and two-day symposium in Beijing on April 17 and 18. The Academy will be participating in this landmark symposium which is sponsored by the COS, the Chinese Medical Doctors Association Ophthalmologist Branch, and the Health Human Resource Development Center of the Ministry of Health.
“I believe it will improve our local ophthalmologists’ professional knowledge and clinical skills,” Huang Jie-fu, vice president of the Ministry of Health, said in remarks prepared for the signing ceremony. “It surely will play an important role in promoting Chinese ophthalmology development.”
The AAO’s effort to promote evidence-based standards through uniform care and treatment guidelines began in 2002, under the leadership of Richard L. Abbott, MD, with initial funding from the World Health Organization and support from the National Eye Institute. China was among the first countries approached under the project. The COS adopted the Preferred Practice Patterns, translated them, edited for regional relevancy and published them in book form for members.
“Thanks to the leadership of COS President Li Xiaoxin and her predecessor Zhao Jialiaing, China has become a model for establishing standards for quality eye care,” said Dr. Abbott, AAO Advisor for International Education Programs. “We look forward to working with colleagues in other countries as they work on instituting uniform standards for ophthalmologists.”
About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons—Eye M.D.s—with more than 27,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three “O’s” – opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases and injuries, and perform eye surgery. To find an Eye M.D. in your area, visit the Academy's Web site at www.aao.org.