Dr. Hutchinson, Founding Chairman of EyeCare America, Died
B. Thomas Hutchinson, MD, founding Chairman of EyeCare America, died on April 10. He was 84.
Dr. Hutchinson is best known for his role in establishing EyeCare America (ECA), a public service program of the Academy’s Foundation that provides eye care through a pool of nearly 6,000 volunteers. ECA is the largest medical public service program in America and has helped more than 1.8 million people.
Dr. Hutchinson was heavily involved in ophthalmic organizations. For the Academy, he served as President in 1993, Chair of the Foundation’s Advisory Board, and Senior Secretary of Ophthalmic Practice. Other positions included Associate Clinical Professor at Harvard, founding partner of Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston, Chair of the American Board of Ophthalmology, Director of the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company, President of the New England Ophthalmological Society, President of the Chandler Grant Glaucoma Society, and many others.
Dr. Hutchinson received numerous awards, including the Academy’s Senior Honor Award, and he was a Guest of Honor at the Academy’s 100th annual meeting. Other honors include Man of the Year in 1998 from the New England Ophthalmological Society, a Man of Vision award from Prevent Blindness America-Massachusetts in 2001, and the Howe Medal from the Buffalo Ophthalmology Society.
Dr. Hutchinson was a visiting professor at multiple universities and medical centers in the United States and internationally. For more than 30 years, he maintained an active role in the teaching of medical students, residents, and fellows in ophthalmology.
“Tom always placed his patients first, was deeply concerned about ethical issues and public service, and retained a passion for his chosen profession of ophthalmology,” said David. W. Parke II, MD, Academy CEO. “We will all miss him.”
The Academy has established the B. Thomas Hutchinson, MD Fund in support of ECA and public service programs of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in his memory. To make a memorial tribute gift, please visit aao.org/foundation/donate and select “The Hutchinson Fund.”
Visit the Museum of Vision’s Oral Histories to listen to or read a conversation between Dr. Hutchinson and Richard P. Mills, MD, MPH. Go to aao.org/oral-histories
and click “Hutchinson, B. Thomas, MD.”
MIPS via the IRIS Registry: June 1 Deadline to Sign Up for EHR-Based Reporting
The IRIS Registry can streamline your reporting for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) as long as you meet the deadlines.
Report quality measures using automated data extraction. The least burdensome way to report MIPS quality measures is to integrate your electronic health record (EHR) system with the IRIS Registry.
June 1 deadline for getting started with IRIS Registry/EHR integration. If you haven’t yet integrated your EHR system with the IRIS Registry, you must sign up by June 1 and complete the integration process by Aug. 1.
The IRIS Registry is a 1-stop shop for MIPS reporting. You also can use the IRIS Registry web portal to manually attest to advancing care information (ACI) measures and improvement activities, and—if you aren’t able to report quality via IRIS Registry/EHR integration—manually enter data for quality measures. If you are new to the IRIS Registry, you will need to sign up for manual reporting by Oct. 31.
For more information on using the Academy’s IRIS Registry for MIPS, go to aao.org/iris-registry/medicare-reporting.
Ask the Ethicist: Cell Phone Use and Professionalism
Q: An on-call ophthalmologist used a personal cell phone to document a patient’s facial wound involving the medial canthus after a motor vehicle accident. Seeking advice for closing this complicated wound, the ophthalmologist sent patient photos, including close-ups of the lacrimal area, to an oculofacial colleague for a second opinion. Later that evening, his daughter was playing with the phone and uploaded these “super gross” photos to Facebook to share with her friends. Without a doubt, allowing his daughter access to these photos on his phone was a mistake, but is the request for a colleague’s opinion in the manner noted problematic?
A: Depending on how much of the patient’s face was revealed in the photographs and whether any other identifying information was available to the recipients, both instances could be considered a breach of confidentiality. Even if you do not include the patient’s name, any information that allows others in the community to identify the patient is too much. Examples include sex, age, dates, location, time frame, unique identifying numbers, and sometimes even the diagnosis. It could be considered an unauthorized disclosure, or breach, of personal health information (PHI).
It is common for health care providers to communicate with patients and colleagues using mobile devices or to access/relay PHI to others using mobile devices. The unauthorized disclosure of PHI is a big risk when using such devices because they are portable, unlikely to be password-protected or encrypted, and likely to connect with Wi-Fi (further risking interception), and they can be easily lost or stolen.
Physicians should approach social media, email, and text messages in the same way they approach conversations in hospital elevators: Don’t discuss confidential patient information in a public setting, whether physical or virtual. When using social media, those who post information should safeguard confidential health information consistent with the law.
For more information, visit aao.org/ethics-detail/advisory-opinion-social-media-professionalism.
MEMBERS AT LARGE
Dr. Huang Receives 2018 Jose Rizal International Medal
On Feb. 8 at the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology’s (APAO) 31st Congress in Hong Kong, the APAO awarded Suber S. Huang, MD, MBA, the Jose Rizal International Medal. This medal commemorates Dr. Jose Rizal, a hero of the Philippines. It recognizes exceptional contributions to ophthalmology in the Asia-Pacific region.
Dr. Maa Receives 2018 Wolcott Award
On March 27, April Maa, MD, received the Wolcott Award from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Wolcott Award program is named after Mark Wolcott, MD, who dedicated more than 40 years of his life to serving and improving the quality of health care for the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) veteran population. It recognizes outstanding VHA health care practitioners who are deserving of special recognition for their contributions in enhancing clinical care.
Dr. Stein Receives 2018 Pisart Award
On March 14, Lighthouse Guild announced Joshua D. Stein, MD, MS, as the recipient of its 2018 Pisart Award. The Pisart Award recognizes an early career clinician or scientist whose contributions have the potential for substantial influence in the understanding of vision loss, treatment of eye disease, or the rehabilitation of people with vision loss. Dr. Stein will receive a $32,000 prize at Lighthouse Guild’s annual Alfred W. Bressler Vision Science Symposium in the fall.
Telemedicine Information Statement
The Academy Board of Trustees approved a new information statement on telemedicine, formalizing a groundbreaking assessment of the technology landscape and how ophthalmologists are using it to provide quality patient care. The statement eschews formal recommendations from the Academy’s health policy committee; instead, it outlines where technology’s influence in eye care is growing. In some cases, it settles long-standing arguments about the effectiveness of teleophthalmology for the diagnosis of some ailments. This is especially true with regard to retinopathy of prematurity and diabetic retinopathy. This statement will be used as a baseline for future recommendations and to identify areas of opportunity for our profession.
Telemedicine is emerging in various sectors. For example, numerous states consider online refraction to be a means for expanding patient access to care. In addition, the Academy is a vocal supporter of the successful Technology-Based Eye Care Services program launched by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The program involves technicians in primary care clinics who gather data following an eye screening protocol. It has expanded access to screenings, especially in rural areas, for cataract, glaucoma, and other diseases.