All associations devote time and energy to expanding their base of members. Many Leadership Development Program participants develop projects around member recruitment and retention, intended for their own societies to use. Recent membership-development projects include the following.
Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons statewide poll and strategic plan revision
Rebecca Sands Braverman, MD, LDP XIX, Class of 2017 - Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
Purpose: To remain relevant, professional societies must provide a valuable service. The Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (CSEPS) must periodically determine what service Colorado ophthalmologists value. The purpose of the study was to determine what Colorado ophthalmologists need from CSEPS and to implement changes to address their needs.
Methods: A Kupersmit Research poll was distributed to 244 Colorado ophthalmologists by email. A similar Kupersmit Research poll from 2014 was used for comparison. The poll results were used to update the CSEPS strategic plan.
Results: Sixty-eight respondents completed the survey (28% response rate). Ninety percent of respondents were current members, while 10% were not. Respondents were in a variety of practice types including: group (59%), academic (20%), solo (13%), and miscellaneous (8%). Most ophthalmologists practiced in the Denver metro area (69%), followed by cities outside of Denver (27%), and rural areas (4%). The age range of respondents ages was 30-45 (39%), 46-55 (19%), 56-64 (22%), and 65 or older (16%).
Two-thirds of ophthalmologists rated CSEPS as “excellent” or “very good” for having a positive impact on the practice of medicine in Colorado and for being focused on issues important to Colorado ophthalmologists. Respondents rated the following services offered by CSEPS as very important: advocacy on behalf of ophthalmologists at the state capital (86%), communication and education about issues that affect the practice of medicine in Colorado (68%), OMIC risk management discount (38%), continuing medical education (30%), opportunities to provide charity care (22%), and networking at social mixers (20%). These priorities were like the 2014 poll.
Respondents reported significant concern about multiple issues that affect their daily practice of medicine. Respondents worry “all the time” or “a lot” about the following issues: uncertain future of healthcare reform (64%), hiring good staff and creating a successful work environment (58%), scope of practice issues (52%), insurance claims and payments (43%), financial security of their practice (37%), malpractice suits (32%), prestige (32%), and patient compliance (20%).
The bimonthly CSEPS newsletter distributed to members via email was considered “very” or “somewhat” worth reading by 76% of respondents compared to 58% in 2014. Nearly half of respondents did not feel access to the CSEPS website was worth their time. The opinion towards the website was like poll results in 2014.
The poll results were used to amend the CSEPS strategic plan. Advocacy, communication, and education were made the top priorities of the new strategic plan. The plan was approved by the CSEPS Board of Directors.
Conclusion: Most Colorado ophthalmologists who responded to the poll believe CSEPS has a positive impact on the practice of medicine. Ophthalmologists consider advocacy the most important service provided by CSEPS. The new CSEPS strategic plan makes advocacy, communication, and education its top priorities. Opportunities to increase the utility of the CSEPS website exist. Future education activities will focus on healthcare reform and the business of medicine.
Mentoring and Advocacy for Young Ophthalmologists in Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology (TNAO)
Janice C. Law, MD, LDP XVII, Class of 2015 - Tennessee Academy of Opthalmology
Purpose: To increase participation and engagement of Tennessee young ophthalmologists-in-training in their state ophthalmic society; to nurture a relationship between ophthalmologists-in-training and Leadership Development Program graduates or board members from TNAO; to improve the online presence of the TNAO organization and marketing the importance of Eye MDs being the leader of the eye care team.
Methods: A retreat is scheduled for October 2015 to unite both training programs in Tennessee: University of Tennessee Hamilton Eye Institute and Vanderbilt Eye Institute. The retreat will have an (1) introduction by a TNAO board member on the history of the organization and its mission, (2) two key note speakers on marketing and shaping your online professional presence, and a (3) small-group brainstorming session to craft solutions for improving the current TNAO online presence. Ideas that come from the brainstorming session will be reviewed by the TNAO board and LDP graduates/board members will be assigned to mentor the groups during the completion of their projects throughout the year.
A paper evaluation and online survey will be distributed post event to further understand how each participant experienced the retreat and brainstorming session. The results of the projects will be reviewed and evaluated in spring of 2016 before the academic year ends. A survey will be distributed to the TNAO organization to survey their experience in engaging young ophthalmologists in marketing and online presence improvement projects.
Expected Results: Members-in-training and TNAO board members will be educated on how to enhance their own online presence as well as the ophthalmic society’s online presence with respect to marketing to the community the importance of Eye MDs being the leader of the eye care team. Members-in-training will build relationships with the members of Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology and have first-hand experience with working together towards crafting solutions and designing improvements for the state society.
Results of improvement projects for TNAO’s online presence will be available Spring of 2016. We expect to see an increase in website traffic from the public as well as from members and non-member community ophthalmologists. We expect to see more educational information and outreach from the TNAO to the community establishing that Eye MDs are the leaders of the eye care team.
We also expect that members-in-training will see the tangible impact they can make in their state society organization as it relates to advocacy.
Expected Conclusions: Young ophthalmologists-in-training can play an important role in state societies. They offer a fresh energy, technology skillsets, and a unique perspective as it pertains to online professional presence, information acquisition, and outreach to communities. The Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology does not have a young ophthalmologists section and does not have direct relationships with the members-in-training in Tennessee. Conversely, most members-in-training do not realize that there are TNAO leaders within their own community.
Young ophthalmologists-in-training need to be shown at an early stage in training the importance of state society membership and how the state society advocates for physician practices and patient safety. This project affords the trainees and practicing ophthalmologists an opportunity to work together, bridge local relationships, and rejuvenate the online presence of their organization. The organization benefits from the collaboration between groups and the young ophthalmologists will have first-hand experience they can take to other state societies in their future practices.