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  • Many ophthalmology societies help their members with practice management -- from training on staff development to addressing state or federal managed care arrangements. Societies often help train office and clinical staff, as well. Leadership Development Program participants develop projects that address specific practice management needs faced by their society's members. Recent practice management projects include the following.

    Determining the workforce need and designing the occupational profile for ophthalmic technicians in Ireland

    Yvonne M. Delaney, MBBcH, FRCOphth, LDP XVIII, Class of 2016 - European Society of Ophthalmology / Irish College of Ophthalmology

    Purpose: To investigate the need for, and the required skillset of, an ophthalmic technician for the Irish context, in order to produce an occupational profile to inform a new national ophthalmic technician training program in Ireland. The occupational profile is a pre-requisite for formal engagement with higher training authorities regarding the best fit for an academic or apprenticeship training model and selection of a relevant qualification based on the National Framework of Qualifications.

    Methods: Two surveys were distributed to all national eye units in the form of Survey Monkey to determine 1) the workforce demand and 2) the skillset required for an ophthalmic technician as a new member of a multi-disciplinary team delivering eye care in acute and non-acute community eye care settings in Ireland.

    1. The results of the survey generated a 90% response rate. Based on the results, a national workforce plan to meet predicted ophthalmic technician demand across multiple sites of eye care delivery - primary & tertiary care, screening & surveillance programs as well as private practice - for the period 2016 – 2026 and based on predicted eye care demands across the main specialty areas of pediatrics, glaucoma and medical retina, was produced. Based on this data, the short and long-term sustainability of an ophthalmic technician training program was reviewed, estimating the numbers to be trained per year, cost per year, as well as long-term sustainability of the program once a steady-state of graduate generation, following the initial fast-tracking period, would be reached.

    2. Based on the results of the second survey (80 percent response rate), the relevant skillset required for the ophthalmic technician in the setting of eye care delivery in Ireland, was determined and refined. The information was used to generate a precise occupational profile for the ophthalmic technician. The occupational profile serves as the determinant of all subsequent curricular design in terms of content, delivery and assessment processes of the training program.

    Conclusions: The creation of a workforce plan and an occupational profile are required steps in the implementation of a new national training program for ophthalmic technicians. Its completion will allow formal engagement with the relevant national higher educational and training bodies to take place with the aim of gaining approval for funding to develop the ophthalmic technicians’ training program as a 2-year training program using the apprenticeship model with the award, on graduation, of a level 5 qualification from the National Framework of Qualifications. The expectation is to complete the curricular content by December 2016 and to commence the selection process for the first cohort of trainees in July 2017.

    Claims Reporting Guidelines and Recommendations for Ophthalmologists

    Michael C. Tigani, MD, LDP XVII, Class of 2015 - Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company

    Purpose: Highlight differences in reporting guidelines between National Data Bank and state Board of Medicine. Develop format to educate physicians on this subject.

    Method: Coordinated with OMIC staff and OMIC affiliated Virginia defense counsel to review Virginia Board of Medicine reporting guidelines and compare and contrast differences from National Data Bank guidelines. Developed a flow chart on how an attorney would approach a request for money versus a claim versus a lost malpractice case. We analyzed 4 cases from OMIC files that occurred in Virginia and demonstrated how each was different regarding the various reporting guidelines. We then presented an OMIC sponsored lecture at the Virginia State Society meeting on June 20, 2015, entitled “Oh No, Who Needs to Know?” We presented the 4 cases with their outcomes, then reviewed the guideline flow chart for Virginia (developed by OMIC defense counsel) highlighting the nuances and technicalities, and subsequently reviewed the cases with the audience and asked them to answer a multiple choice question as to which agency must be sent a report of the outcome, A) National Data Bank, B) Virginia Board of Medicine, C) Both, D) Neither.

    Results: The first 2 cases were straightforward and over 90% of the audience understood the material and answered correctly. The last 2 cases were more complicated and the audience was evenly split among the 4 choices. We emphasized the take home message was that these matters are complicated and physicians should contact their malpractice carrier as early as possible when they receive a written or oral request from a patient for money, a claim for malpractice, or any correspondence regarding patient dissatisfaction. We surveyed the attending physicians through the Virginia state society online survey mechanism and had a favorable review; however, the society’s survey was onerous and lengthy with low numbers participating in the review process.

    Conclusion: The subject matter and format were well received and viewed as very important by a majority of physicians. The printed handout of the guidelines for both Virginia Board of Medicine and National Data Bank, and the flowchart of decision making, generated favorable responses from the attendees. For future reference, the flow chart and handout material provided at the Virginia lecture will be posted on the OMIC website. When OMIC presents this course in another state, we plan on including our own survey to be completed at the same time in order to improve the sample size and speed of surveying the physicians, and to better assess our effectiveness and observe criticism and advice on how to improve our delivery of this material. We believe this topic can become a regularly scheduled subject for state society meetings and an OMIC website resource.