American Academy of Ophthalmology Web Site: www.aao.org
Academy Helps the Public Get Smart About Eye Injury
EyeSmart, the Academy’s public awareness campaign empowering Americans to take charge of their eye health, will move into its second year this summer with a new emphasis on preventing eye injuries. The educational efforts—and a new eye-safety recommendation from the Academy and the American Society of Ocular Trauma (ASOT)—are driven by two recent surveys that reveal a glaring contrast between the perception and reality of eye injuries.
Perhaps the most significant finding emerged in the EyeSmart public opinion survey, which found that most people believe the majority of eye injuries happen in work settings, especially those involving physical labor. When asked where they thought most eye injuries occurred, 92 percent of respondents mentioned factories (38 percent) or construction sites (54 percent). In fact, however, the annual Eye Injury Snapshot has consistently found that most injuries occur in seemingly the most unthreatening of settings, the family home.
That very sense of safety may be the reason for a second finding of the EyeSmart public opinion survey: Only 35 percent of Americans always wear protective eyewear during home repairs or maintenance. Nearly twice that number (64 percent) reported having protective eyewear in the home. Only one in five of those surveyed perceived even a moderate risk for eye injury at home.
This underestimation of danger is something the Academy and ASOT hope to change with a new recommendation that every household in America has at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear for use during projects and activities that may present risk of eye injury. “We want the public to understand that most eye injuries occur in the home setting and that the vast majority are preventable by taking one simple step: using approved protective eyewear,” said H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, executive vice president of the Academy.
For information on how to help educate patients about the risk of eye injury and to get a copy of the Academy's new eye-safety recommendation, visit www.aao.org/eyesmartcampaign.
Two Awards for Dr. Hoskins
H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, executive vice president of the Academy, has been selected to receive two awards: the Glaucoma Research Foundation’s (GRF) 2009 Catalyst Award and the Italian Ophthalmological Society’s (SOI) 2008 SOI Award.
Both awards acknowledge Dr. Hoskins’ exemplary leadership in sustaining innovative research and education.
20th Anniversary of PPPs
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Academy’s Preferred Practice Patterns (PPPs), practice guidelines that have helped shape the field of ophthalmology and served as a model for other medical specialties.
“The PPPs are designed to describe clear, practical guidelines that are relevant to ophthalmologists practicing in the community,” noted Flora Lum, MD, Academy policy director for Quality of Care and Knowledge Base Development. “They are intended to help clinicians evaluate the linkage between therapeutic options and outcomes, assess benefits and risks, and educate patients.” Dr. Lum added that PPPs are not “cookbook medicine” but rather are constructed with a great amount of latitude for individuality and choice. “These are patterns that pertain to a general group of patients, but clinicians have the independence to choose for themselves.”
The PPPs were first created by the quality of care committee under the leadership of Alfred Sommer, MD. Richard L. Abbott, MD, who has served since 2001 as the secretary of Quality of Care and Knowledge Base Development, joined the effort during its initial stages. “Twenty years ago, managed care was becoming more widespread, and doctors needed to look at improving the quality of care while being more efficient,” Dr. Abbott recalled. “We saw PPPs as a less restrictive tool for clinicians. At first, they were written by one panel of doctors, and we broke them down into various subspecialties covering common diseases.”
Various committees then took to the task of writing these guidelines and they were sent for review to the subspecialty societies and the Academy’s board of trustees.
Today, the PPPs continue to play an expanding role for ophthalmologists. Sid Mandelbaum, MD, chairman of the Academy’s PPP committee, explained that the Internet not only has fueled the information overload felt by ophthalmologists over the past decade but also has helped disseminate the crucial, timely information included in the PPPs. “The amount of research published every year is mind-boggling,” said Dr. Mandelbaum. “There is no way the practicing ophthalmologist can thoroughly digest these studies. Our job is to review the literature and determine if it presents enough evidence to change clinical practice. Once we issue recommendations, we always provide in the written document the evidence that supports every point.”
Each year, the PPP committee reviews and, if needed, updates the PPPs and then publishes them online. They hope to take this technology one step further, eventually loading the PPPs directly to the physician’s electronic medical records so they can be accessed during a patient visit.
For more information and to download the latest PPPs for free, visit www.aao.org/ppp. The Summary Benchmarks are also available. They contain the most relevant information found in the PPPs. They too can be downloaded for free by visiting www.aao.org/benchmarks.
EyeNet Wins Excel Award
EyeNet Magazine won an Excel Award for “Feature Article in a Magazine” from the Society of National Association Publications.
The award honored a cover story on neuroadaptation that appeared in the July/August 2007 issue and was titled “New Lens, Same Brain.” It explored the capacity of the visual pathway to permit stereopsis as well as the mechanisms for neuroadaptation following the implantation of multifocal IOLs.
Lisa B. Arbisser, MD,
To read this story and other past issues of EyeNet, visit www.eyenetmagazine.org/archives.
Announcing the 2008 Academy Awards
It is with great pleasure and pride that the board of trustees and the awards committee announce this year’s award recipients.
Individuals who are honored with the Special Awards will be invited to attend the 2008 Joint Meeting in Atlanta as guests of the Academy’s president, David W. Parke II, MD.
GUEST OF HONOR AWARD
This award honors individuals for their importance to ophthalmology.
Thomas M. Aaberg Sr., MD, MSPH
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
This award honors individuals or organizations for ongoing notable service to both ophthalmology and the Academy.
Knights Templar Foundation Inc.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD
This award recognizes individuals for their lifetime commitment to and support of ophthalmology.
The award may also be presented to an organization for outstanding service in a specific effort or cause that has improved the quality of eye care.
American Osteopathic Association
OUTSTANDING HUMANITARIAN SERVICE AWARD
This award recognizes Academy members for their contribution to humanitarian efforts, such as participation in charitable activities, care of the indigent, involvement in community service and other forms of ophthalmological care performed above and beyond the typical duties of an ophthalmologist.
Devin A. Harrison, MD
OUTSTANDING ADVOCATE AWARD
This award recognizes Academy members for their participation in advocacy-related efforts at state and/or federal levels.
Hobart A. Lerner, MD, FACS
INTERNATIONAL BLINDNESS PREVENTION AWARD
This award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the prevention of blindness or the restoration of sight around the world.
Paul Courtright, PhD
ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS PROGRAM
The Achievement Awards program recognizes individuals (members and non-members) for their contribution to the scientific programs of the Annual Meeting and those who serve as Academy committee members, representatives, trustees, councilors, authors, coauthors and reviewers of educational material.
LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Individuals who have cumulatively earned 60 points and have made significant contributions to ophthalmology as determined by the awards committee are nominated to receive this award.
Gary W. Abrams, MD
SENIOR ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Individuals who have cumulatively earned 30 points are nominated to receive this award.
Jorge L. Alió, MD, PhD
Individuals who have cumulatively earned 10 points are nominated to receive this award.
Thomas M. Aaberg Jr., MD
SECRETARIAT AWARDS PROGRAM
This program recognizes individuals for contributions outside the scope of the Achievement Award program. Each of the Academy’s secretaries and senior secretaries can submit nominees to the Academy’s awards committee.
Nominated by the secretaries for Quality of Care & Knowledge Base Development, Ophthalmic Knowledge, and Online Education eLearning and the senior secretary for Clinical Education:
Anthony J. Aldave, MD
Nominated by the secretary for the Annual Meeting:
John A. Irvine, MD
Nominated by the secretaries for State Affairs and Federal Affairs, and the senior secretary for Advocacy:
Roger A. Dailey, MD
Nominated by the secretary for Communications:
John C. Hagan III, MD
Nominated by the editor of Ophthalmology:
Michael F. Chiang, MD
Nominated by the secretary for Member Services:
Stephanie Jones Marioneaux, MD
Nominated by the chief medical editor of EyeNet:
Deepak Paul Edward, MD
Nominated by the secretary for Global Alliances:
Jorge L. Alió, MD, PhD
Annual Business Meeting
Notice is hereby given that the Annual Business Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology will be held on Sunday, Nov. 9, in Hall A-3 at the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, from 10:15 to 10:30 a.m.
In accordance with Academy bylaws, notice is hereby given of the following nominations for officers to the Academy, made by the Academy Board of Trustees in June. Please note that senior secretary for Advocacy is a three-year term and that two trustee-at-large positions are available in 2009.
Randolph L. Johnston, MD
SENIOR SECRETARY FOR ADVOCACY
Cynthia A. Bradford, MD
Laurie Gray Barber, MD
George A. Williams, MD
Nomination Procedures for the Academy Board
On Jan. 1, 2009, four board of trustee positions will become vacant. Elections to fill those positions will take place by mail ballot after the Nov. 9, 2008, annual business meeting.
To nominate a candidate by petition for the 2009 board, submit a written petition to the Academy’s executive vice president no later than Aug. 11. The petition must be signed by at least 50 voting Academy members and fellows.
To suggest a nominee for the 2009 board, watch for the call for nominations that will be published in January’s EyeNet Magazine.
To read the rules in full, visit www.aao.org/bylaws and see Article V of the Academy bylaws.
Efficiency Advice for Practices With ODs and Techs
Dedicating personnel to specific tests (IOL calculations, photos) maximizes patient flow and improves quality of care. Multiple work-up lanes can greatly facilitate patient flow. Leaving optical dispensing to local ODs frees surgeons for surgery. These are a few of the practical tips you will read about in the white paper Utilizing ODs and Technicians to Increase Throughput: Experiences of a Model Practice by Robert J. Cionni, MD.
The paper provides not only tips but also a discussion of strategies that allow practices to function more efficiently in anticipation of increased patient loads that are expected with the aging of the Baby Boom generation.
To view the full paper, visit www.aao.org/practice_mgmt/boomer.cfm.
Comparison Shop on EMR Central
It can be overwhelming to determine which electronic medical records program is best for your practice. To make this process easier, the Academy and the AAOE have developed EMR Central. This free online member resource compares 19 vendor services, including sample costs for purchasing, installing and training.
For more information, visit www.aao.org/aaoesite/emr.
Report Suspect Medical Products and Devices
MedWatch allows health care professionals and consumers to report serious problems that they suspect are associated with the drugs and medical devices they prescribe, dispense or use. Updated records of safety alerts, recalls, withdrawals and important labeling changes are then quickly disseminated via the MedWatch Web site and e-list.
You can submit a report online, by phone or by submitting the MedWatch 2500 form via mail or fax. For more information, visit www.aao.org/aaoesite/emr.
Now Accepting 2007 Practice Data
The Academy is now accepting 2007 practice data for the AAO/AAOE Benchmarking Survey. Participation is confidential, quick and secure. Once data have been approved, practices that have contributed will be able to generate on-demand reports. The deadline for submitting data is Sept. 15.
For more information, visit www.aao.org/benchmarking.
Update Your Member Profile
To ensure that your information is current and accurate for Find an Eye M.D., the online directory of practicing ophthalmologists, please take the time to visit “Update Member Profile,” located in “Member Services” at www.aao.org.
For more information, contact Member Services by phone, 866-561-8558 (toll free in the United States) or 415-561-8581, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get Warnings, Recalls Online
The Health Care Notification Network (HCNN) is a free service that disseminates wide-scale drug and device recalls and warnings electronically.
It is intended to speed up and replace the long-standing process of mailing drug and device warnings and recalls to health care providers. HCNN fulfills new FDA guidance for electronic communication of patient-safety notification.
For more information, visit www.hcnn.net.
Visit the Academy at IAPB
If your plans take you to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness meeting Aug. 25 to 28 in Buenos Aires, be sure to stop by the Academy booth (#20) and see the latest products from the Academy.
For more details, visit www.aao.org/aao_exhibits.cfm.
Preorder 2009 Coding Products
The Academy is now taking advance orders for next year’s coding products. The 2009 Ophthalmic Coding Series includes 2009 Code This Case (#012357), 2009 ICD-9 for Ophthalmology (#012353), 2009 CPT Pocket Guide for Ophthalmology (#012352), and the new 2009 ICD-9 Coding Flash Cards (#012329). The 2009 CPT Professional (#012349) and Standard (#012350) editions as well as the HCPCS (#012351) will also be available.
The 2009 series will go on sale Aug. 1.
Animated Videos for Patient Education
Digital-Eyes Ophthalmic Animations for Patients (#050116) offers a collection of more than 50 high-quality animated segments showing and discussing a wide variety of eye anatomy and treatment topics. These videos can be used on your Web site and in your office, and are they offered in a variety of digital formats.
Digital-Eyes Ophthalmic Animations for Patients costs $280 for members and $355 for nonmembers.
See What’s New With LEO Clinical Update Courses
At the Academy’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans, leading ophthalmologists presented the latest developments in the fields of orbit and ophthalmic plastic surgery, strabismus and pediatric ophthalmology as part of the Lifelong Education for the Ophthalmologist (LEO) Clinical Update Course series.
Those presentations are now available on DVD-ROM. By viewing these courses—which combine slides, text, video and audio exactly as originally presented—you can maintain competency without leaving your office or home. High-quality image magnification and a rapid search function make them a convenient resource for everyday use.
The LEO Clinical Update Course on Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (#0212306) covers:
The LEO Clinical Update Course on Orbit and Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery (#0212305) covers:
Each DVD-ROM is $149 for members ($179 for nonmembers).
The Academy Works With the Indian Health Service
The Academy and the Indian Health Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, agreed to a partnership in May. The pilot program will provide evaluation and surgical treatment for diabetic retinopathy within high-risk American Indian populations that have limited access to such services.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Eye M.D.s to increase patients’ access to quality care. I’m excited that our state ophthalmology society has agreed to be a partner with the Academy in this effort,” said Scott A. Uttley, MD, president of the Minnesota Academy of Ophthalmology (MAO) and member of the Academy’s secretariat for State Affairs. “Our state society joins MAO in its enthusiasm for this pilot effort to help these populations, independent of the patients’ or referring facilities’ ability to pay,” added Mark L. Sczepanski, MD, president of the North Dakota Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (NDSEPS). Both the NDSEPS and the MAO will administer the program for patients identified and referred by the pilot program’s facilities in Cass Lake and Red Lake, Minn.
Avarind—2008 Gates Award Winner
The Avarind Eye Care System has received the 2008 Gates Award for Global Health. Founded by Dr. G. Venkataswamy in 1976, Avarind has saved millions of people in India from debilitating blindness. Its innovative business model has enabled it to provide the same high-quality care to every patient, regardless of their ability to pay. The organization enlists local businesses to sponsor eye care hospitals and subsidizes care through fees from paying patients and global sales of eye care products.
Roger V. Ohanesian, MD, has been honored by the Armenian American Health Professionals Organization for his impact in the Armenian community. Dr. Ohanesian is the president and chairman of the Armenian Eye Care Project, a group whose accomplishments include traveling to Armenia over 30 times to teach and perform procedures, sponsoring young Armenians for U.S. academic fellowships and examining over 160,000 Armenians at a mobile eye hospital.
Joram Piatigorsky, PhD, has received the Helen Keller Award for Vision Research. The award is presented for significant contributions to vision science during the course of a career or for a single contribution of exceptional importance to vision science. Dr. Piatigorsky is chief of the NEI’s Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Biology.
CMS Confirms Strong Ophthalmology PQRI Participation Rates
Preliminary data from CMS concerning the 2007 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) revealed that nearly 100,000 Medicare providers, or 16 percent of those eligible, attempted to participate in the first bonus program that rolled out in July of last year. The average number of measures reported in the 2007 PQRI was 3.58. While CMS declined to break out the data by specialty, it singled out ophthalmology, anesthesiology and emergency medicine for their high participation rates.
Initial data also showed that many physicians had reporting-compliance problems that may impact their eligibility for the bonus. One low spot was that missing or incorrect National Provider Identifier (NPI) numbers have hampered successful practitioner reporting. For example, reporting on the measure for optic nerve evaluation for glaucoma was cited as missing this NPI information 19 percent of the time. Practitioners who succeed in reporting on 80 percent of at least three measures (or fewer, if fewer apply) in 2007 will receive bonus checks this summer. In addition, physicians will receive feedback with data on their individual performance.
What to expect for the 2008 PQRI. Reporting runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2008. Physicians are eligible to earn a bonus payment of 1.5 percent of total allowed charges for covered services for the entire year. A complicated threshold mechanism imposed last year has been removed, meaning bonuses should be easier to calculate in 2008 for successful participants.
Success for 2008 PQRI will once again be determined by reporting on three measures (or fewer, if fewer apply) at least 80 percent of the time during the year for those patients with applicable diagnoses. While there are more total measures this year, 119 vs. 74 in 2007, ophthalmologists have fewer, as all three cataract measures and one age-related macular degeneration measure were removed. However, CMS has added two structural measures, one for electronic medical records and one for e-prescribing, which can be reported to supplement clinical measures or in lieu of them if no measures apply.
An Academy survey of its members in April 2008 showed that over half are participating. Participants overwhelmingly pointed to the Academy’s PQRI implementation guide as a key to preparation for their participation.
More information on PQRI and the guide can be found at www.aao.org/pqri.
CMS singled out ophthalmology, anesthesiology and emergency medicine for their high PQRI participation rates.