• Academy Notebook

    News, Tips, Resources

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    New Uveitis and Immunology Lecture at AAO 2016

    The Academy Foundation recently received a generous endowment from C. Stephen Foster, MD, and his wife, Frances Foster, to establish the C. Stephen and Frances Foster Lecture in Uveitis and Immunology. Dr. Foster is the founder of the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution, and Mrs. Foster directs its infusion center.

    The 30-minute lecture, to be delivered each year during the Academy annual meeting, will feature a guest lecturer presenting on medical advancements as they pertain to uveitis, ocular inflammation, and immunology. The lecture was created to share the latest medical and surgical innovations so practitioners can more effectively prevent vision loss due to anterior, intermediate, and posterior uveitis; panuveitis; and other ocular inflammatory conditions. It will also provide a platform to discuss new therapies, laboratory tests, imaging techniques, pre- and postoperative considerations, local and systemic treatments, management of infec­tious and noninfectious forms of uveitis, and more.

    The inaugural speaker will be announced in EyeNet’s Destination AAO series, which starts in the May issue.

    Oculofacial Plastic Surgery Education Center

    At AAO 2015 in Las Vegas, the Acade­my launched a center dedicated solely to oculofacial plastic and reconstruc­tive surgery: the Oculofacial Plastic Surgery Education Center. Funded with support from the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the online center is part of the Academy’s ONE Network and offers a compendium of practical outlines for the active practitioner or student of oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgery. It will continue to grow in 2016 with more topics, videos, and images.

    For more information, visit www.aao.org/oculoplastics-center/oculoplastics-education-center.

    New EyeSmart

    Launched by the Academy in 2007, EyeSmart has become a leading source of eye care guidance for the public, pro­viding users with a vast library of news and information on how to protect and preserve vision. The website features 4,000 pages of member-reviewed, pa­tient-focused content including articles, graphics, and animated videos.

    In January, the Academy rolled out a variety of improvements to EyeSmart. These include the following:

    • A mobile-friendly platform with easier navigation. The EyeSmart website uses responsive design to automatically detect the device being used to view it, and formats site content to fit that device.
    • A new interface for Ask an Oph­thalmologist, which is used by the public tosubmit questions and receive answers from Academy members. The new version allows visitors to more eas­ily find existing answers, as hundreds of questions and answers are already available.
    • An improved Find an Ophthalmolo­gist tool, which enables users to search for ophthalmologists worldwide. It now provides a moreintuitive interface with improved mapping functions.
    • Links to Spanish versions of most EyeSmart content in the OjosSanos section, located at www.aao.org/salud-ocular. EyeSmart also integrates with Google Translate for readers of other languages.
    • Feeds from the EyeSmart Facebook and Twitter channels, allowing users to engage with the thousands of EyeSmart followers sharing their experiences on social media.
    • A new URL. Formerly located at www.geteyesmart.org, the EyeSmart url has been changed to www.aao.org/eye-health to make it clear that this pa­tient-focused content is developed and endorsed by the Academy. The new Eye Health button found at the top of all pages on the Academy website makes this resource more visible to both oph­thalmologists and the public.

    Update your links. Many ophthal­mologists link to EyeSmart from their practices’ websites, providing a valuable education tool to their patients and potential future patients. If you link to EyeSmart at its old www.geteyesmart.org address, those links will redirect to the new EyeSmart on www.aao.org. However, the Academy recommends keeping your website current by linking to the new address.

    For updated links and buttons to use in your practice, visit www.aao.org/eye-health/resources/web-links.

    The Fosters Give Back to Ophthalmology
    THE FOSTERS GIVE BACK TO OPHTHALMOLOGY. The lecture will be primarily targeted to uveitis and corneal subspecialists and comprehensive ophthalmologists who treat uveitis and ocular inflammatory conditions. Dr. Foster, shown here with his wife, Frances Foster, said, “As longtime scholars and teachers of ocular immunology and uveitis, Frances and I have felt indebted to the Academy for the forum and support for our efforts in education. We felt that this lectureship would further solidify our efforts in this relatively underappreciated area.”


    IRIS Registry Resumes Processing of EHR Users

    If you registered earlier this year to integrate your electronic health record (EHR) system with the IRIS Regis­try clinical database, the Academy asked you to complete paperwork and notified you that it had temporarily stopped integrating new users. This month, the Academy will start process­ing new users again.

    Why clinical registries need an an­nual hiatus. Like most clinical registries that report data to regulatory programs, the IRIS Registry stops processing new users at the start of the year. To ensure appropriate submission of information from existing users, significant time must be spent preparing their data and adapting to changes in the rules.

    Use the IRIS Registry for PQRS. If you have an EHR system, you can use the IRIS Registry clinical database to participate in PQRS. If you don’t have EHR, the IRIS Registry Web portal offers 4 options for manu­ally reporting PQRS, including the new Diabetic Retinopathy Measures Group (see “Iris Registry Web Portal Launches the Diabetic Retinopathy Measures Group”).The manual reporting op­tion is expected to reopen next month.

    To learn more about the IRIS Regis­try, visit www.aao.org/irisregistry.

    EyeWiki Contest: Read the 4 Winning Articles

    EyeWiki is the Academy’s collaborative online encyclopedia where physicians, their patients, and the public can view content written by ophthalmologists covering the spectrum of eye disease, diagnosis, and treatment.

    In 2015, the Academy invited U.S. residents and fellows-in-training to submit articles to EyeWiki as part of a writing contest. The 4 winning authors won free trips to this month’s Mid-Year Forum in Washington, D.C. (April 13-16).

    • Elmira Baghdasaryan, MD, Doheny Eye Institute, University of California—Los Angeles: Confocal Microscopy
    • Paul O. Phelps, MD, Albany Medical College: Canalicular Trauma
    • Syed Amal Hussnain, MD, Yale School of Medicine: The Role of Cornea in Glaucoma Management: Central Corne­al Thickness and Corneal Hysteresis
    • Musa Abdelaziz, MD, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospi­tals Eye Institute: Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion

    International ophthalmologists are also able to participate via the Inter­national Ophthalmologist Contest. Submissions are accepted until June 1.

    To read the winning articles and submit to the contest, visit www.aao.org/eyewiki.

    Register for and Order Re­cordings of Billing Webinars

    Improve your practice’s billing and collections performance with the Acad­emy and AAOE’s 3-part webinar series: Billing and Collections for Beginners (recorded on March 15), Managing and Improving Collection Performance (coming on April 19), and Billing and Collections: Tips and Pitfalls (coming on May 17).

    Register and/or order recordings at www.aao.org/store.

    Commitment to Advocacy Award
    COMMITMENT TO ADVOCACY AWARD. Vanderbilt Eye Institute received the Academy’s Secretariat for State Affairs 2nd annual Commitment to Advocacy Award during the January Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO) annual meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Academy Secretary for State Affairs Kurt F. Heitman, MD, presented the honor to Vanderbilt’s leadership: Paul Sternberg Jr., MD, G.W. Hale Professor and Chair; Laura L. Wayman, MD, Director for Resident Education and Vice Chair for Education; and Janice C. Law, MD, Associate Director for Resident Education. Shown above (left to right): David W. Parke II, MD, Academy CEO; Steven E. Feldon, MD, Executive Vice President, AUPO; Dr. Law; Dr. Sternberg; Julia A. Haller, MD, President, AUPO; and Dr. Heitman.

    This award recognizes a training department and its leadership for ongoing commitment and support of the Academy’s Advocacy Ambassador Program. Vanderbilt has consistently demonstrated a dedication to engaging and educating Academy members in training about the importance of advocating for their patients and their profession via the Academy’s Advocacy Ambassador Program, and has collaborated closely with the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology. The Advocacy Ambassador Program is a collaboration with state and subspecialty societies, along with training programs, to support attendance by members in training at the Mid-Year Forum.


    Chicago: City of Innovation

    Considering that the theme of AAO 2016 is “Innovate,” Chicago as host city is fitting. The Windy City is known for its cutting-edge theater (e.g., Chicago Physical Theater), novel architecture (e.g., Aqua), and inventive chefs (e.g., Homaro Cantu). While in Chicago, sample some of the innovative culture this city is famous for.

    The meeting will be held in con­junction with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology from Oct. 15 to 18, preceded by Subspecialty Day (Oct. 14 and 15).

    For more information about Chica­go, visit www.aao.org/chicago.

    AAO 2016: Sneak Peek

    Although AAO 2016 is still 6 months away, several key events are confirmed. Most important, Douglas D. Koch, MD, has been selected as the speaker for the Jackson Memorial Lecture.

    In addition, several symposia are on the schedule:

    • Successful Strategies for Using Your EHR
    • Paradigm Change in Ocular Imaging
    • Areas of Controversy Regarding Cata­ract Surgical Preferred Practices
    • Pediatric Neuro-Ophthalmology: Kids Aren’t Little Adults
    • Ophthalmology Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading—4 Revolutionary Ideas That Will Change the Future for Young Ophthalmologists

    For more information on AAO 2016, visit www.aao.org/2016.

    International Attendees

    New visa procedures are now in place for travelers to the United States—re­view the new requirements early so that you can update your travel documents and passports. For scientific confer­ences, visa applications should be made no later than 90 days prior to travel.

    Visit www.aao.org/visa.

    Stop by the Academy Booth at MEACO in May

    The Academy will be exhibiting at the XIII International Congress of the Mid­dle East Africa Council of Ophthalmol­ogy (MEACO) on May 4-8 in Manama, Bahrain—visit booths H22 and H24.


    Dr. Abbott Receives the Mark Tso Golden Apple Award

    At the opening ceremony of the 2016 World Ophthalmology Congress of the International Council of Ophthalmol­ogy on Feb. 5 in Guadalajara, Mexico, Richard L. Abbott, MD, received the Mark Tso Golden Apple Award. This award is given every 2 years to an individual who has demonstrated innovation, improvement, advocacy, or exceptional achievements in ophthalmic education in the Asia-Pacific region.

    OMIC’s New Leadership

    On Jan. 1, George A. Williams, MD, succeeded Tamara R. Fountain, MD, as Chair of OMIC’s Board of Direc­tors. A practicing ophthalmologist, Dr. Williams has served on the Academy Board of Trustees and has been Secre­tary of Federal Affairs since 2014. Dr. Williams said, “We are navigating the changes in health care better than many other specialties because of the years of service of dedicated ophthalmologists like Dr. Fountain. She will be a tough act to follow, but I pledge every effort to continue to meet her high standards.”


    Academy Defends the Right to Evaluate New Diagnostic Technology

    The 2016 state legislative season is off to a roaring start as optometry and ophthalmology are in stark disagreement over freedom to evaluate emerging medical technologies.

    Optometric legislation. Organized optometry in 7 states is seeking restrictions on new automated and web-based refractive applications. Legislative measures in Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Okla­homa, South Carolina, and Wyoming would block patient access to these services by prohibiting ophthalmologists from utilizing them to issue prescriptions for glasses and contacts. The legislation would basically strip physicians of their right to use a technology that they might deem, in their medical judgment, to be an effective and accurate diagnostic tool. 

    This issue of physician choice is increasingly relevant as companies continue to research, develop, and market additional refractive telemedi­cine applications that offer the potential for greater patient access.

    Where we stand. Legislative proposals such as these conflict with the Academy’s recommendations on the use of innovative technology in eye care. The Academy maintains that all new technologies deserve the chance to be evaluated for potential effectiveness, as emerging tech­nology can play a major part in improving high-quality patient care. This evaluation should be made by physicians, who are uniquely qualified to determine what new options are best for their patients.

    To read the Academy’s official position, visit www.aao.org/clinical-statement/innovative-technologies-in-diagnosing-eye-diseases.