• Academy Notebook

    News, Tips, Resources

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    New Clinical Dashboard for IRIS Registry Users

    Would you like to know how your clini­cal care compares to that of your peers? This is possible—for cataract surgery, for now—with a new dashboard feature that became available to IRIS Registry users last month. In its initial iteration, the dashboard, called Verana Practice Insights, allows users to:

    • examine their own data and trends in patient outcomes and care;
    • benchmark individual clinical care patterns against those of other ophthal­mologists; and
    • visualize deidentified aggregate data of physician practice trends across the United States.

    With this information, physicians have a data-based foundation for de­termining and adopting best practices, improving outcomes, and providing better patient care.

    Who will benefit. The dashboard will initially provide information on practice trends related to cataract surgery and will expand to other in­dications in early 2020. Those who do not perform cataract procedures but are interested in participating in the future should preregister. This will help determine which subspecialty areas will be developed next.

    Who is eligible. This free, early version of Practice Insights is available to U.S.-based Academy members who participate in the IRIS Registry via an integrated electronic health record (EHR) system.

    How to get started. Complete the form at www.veranahealth.com/verana-practice-insights-signup/.

    Verana Health is the for-profit company to which the Academy has licensed IRIS Registry data analysis and curation. Verana makes the data analytic tools and platforms that it develops available at no charge to Academy members. For more about the relationship between the Academy and Verana Health, read the November 2018 Current Perspective column from David W. Parke II, MD, titled “All About Trust.”

    Indiana Ophthalmologists Screen Veterans

    During the 2019 American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis, held Aug. 23-29, the Academy part­nered with the Indiana Academy of Ophthalmology (IAO) to offer screen­ings and education about eye care to veterans. Seven Indiana ophthalmol­ogists, including IAO President Yara Catoira-Boyle, MD, volunteered along with 12 residents and medical students from the Indiana School of Medicine to screen more than 100 veterans and their family members. Chi Wah Rudy Yung, MD, at Indiana University in Indianapolis, led the effort to get the residents and medical students involved in the volunteer effort.

    Among their findings were cases of glaucoma suspect and suspected isch­emic optic neuropathy, dry age-related macular degeneration, papilledema, and pseudotumor cerebri. In addition, volunteers identified one participant who may have had a recent stroke. Dr. Catoira-Boyle said, “This was a great opportunity for the IAO to give back to veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much for us. It was a meaningful experience for all involved.”

    Next year, the Academy will con­tinue this public service tradition and reach out to the Kentucky Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons to solicit volunteers for the American Legion’s convention in Louisville.

    Council Members Bring Cybersecurity to Forefront

    Two Academy councilors teamed up to bring important cybersecurity informa­tion to Academy members in an August webinar.

    The backstory. Renee C. Bovelle, MD, and Lee A. Snyder, MD, share an interest in cybersecurity, and they are both Academy councilors representing the Maryland Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (MSEPS). In April, they submitted a two-part Council Advisory Recommendation encouraging the Academy to 1) provide education to ophthalmologists about how to protect their most valuable electronic assets, such as patient health care data, from ransomware and 2) help spread under­standing of why health care is a target. The Council approved sending this CAR to the Academy Board of Trustees, and a webinar was developed to address both recommendations.

    The webinar. On Aug. 15, Drs. Bovelle and Snyder presented an Academy-sponsored webinar, titled Protecting Patients, Practice, and Profits to an audience of approximately 50 members. Dr. Bovelle, who received a master’s degree in Cybersecurity Strategy and Information Management from George Washington University in 2019, said, “There has been a prolifer­ation of cyberattacks affecting oph­thalmologists. Unfortunately, we have not been adequately trained to deal with the overwhelming repercussions. Awareness of ransomware cyberattacks and understanding our responsibilities is the first step. Lee and I hope that the CME webinar will aid in empowering ophthalmologists to mitigate these threats.”

    The webinar was very well received, with many attendees responding to the evaluation thanking Drs. Boyelle and Lee for their effort to share the valuable information with fellow physicians. One attendee went so far as to say the webinar should be mandatory for all physicians. The webinar recording is available at aao.org/annual-meeting-video/protect-patients-practice-profits-from-ransomware.

    About the Council and CARs. The Academy Council is the policy advisory body to the Academy Board of Trustees. It consists of 103 ophthalmologists rep­resenting 52 state and regional societies and 30 subspecialty and specialized interest societies. A CAR is a Council Advisory Recommendation. Coun­cilors use CARs to bring issues to the attention of the rest of the Council and, ultimately, to the Academy Board.

    Learn more at aao.org/council.


    Interested in an Externship?

    Are you interested in an externship opportunity with a leading refractive, cataract, cornea, or lens-based surgeon? The International Society of Refractive Surgery (ISRS) is now offering its members a chance to bolster their clinical knowledge in imaging technology, diagnostic devices, and various surgical platforms by learning alongside col­leagues through the ISRS Externship Program.

    These training opportunities are offered by leading ISRS members in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, and they last between two weeks and three months. Stipends are available to help cover expenses such as airfare, transporta­tion, lodging, and meals.

    “The ISRS externship program granted me the opportunity to work alongside and learn from one of the world’s best refractive surgeons. It also allowed me to form new friendships and future research collaborations,” said ISRS member Yishay Weill, MD, a fellow at the Shaare-Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.

    Learn more and apply by Dec. 1 for the fall program. Applications for spring start soon. Visit isrs.org/externships.

    Remember the Foundation on Giving Tuesday

    After your holiday shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, kick off your year-end charitable donations on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 3. Entering its seventh year, this global day of philanthropy encourages donating to initiatives that are important to you. This year, consider supporting Acade­my programs such as the Ophthalmic News and Education (ONE) Network, EyeCare America, global outreach, and the Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye through a donation to the Foun­dation. Your tax-deductible gift can be made in honor or memory of someone special.

    To donate, visit aao.org/foundation/giving-options.

    Seeking Outstanding Ophthalmologists

    Would you like to nominate a colleague for next year’s Outstanding Humanitar­ian Service Award? The Academy must receive your nomination by March 13, 2020.

    This award recognizes Academy fellows and members for outstanding contributions to humanitarian efforts, such as participation in charitable activities, care for the indigent, and community service. It acknowledges those who have performed above and beyond the normal duties of an oph­thalmologist.

    To obtain a nomination form, con­tact Member Services by phone, 866-561-8558 (toll-free) or 415-561-8581; by fax, 415-561-8575; or by e-mail, member_services@aao.org. You can also complete a nomination form at aao.org/about/awards/humanitarian.

    Submit Your Research to Ophthalmology Glaucoma

    The Academy and the American Glaucoma Society have collaborated in launching Ophthalmology Glaucoma to expand publishing opportunities for this booming subspecialty. Submit your research today!

    Submit a manuscript at www.editorialmanager.com/ogla.


    The 2018-2019 Annual Report Is Now Available

    Read the 2018-2019 Foundation annual report, A Better Tomorrow, to learn about the impact that member support has on the success of Academy pro­grams. Learn about the Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye campaign, a groundbreaking donation for pediat­ric research through the IRIS Regis­try, stories of restored vi­sion thanks to EyeCare America, and more.

    Access the report at aao.org/foundation/2019-annual-report/overview-2019.

    Participate in the Academy Election

    The election for open positions on the Board of Trustees and voting on the proposed amendments to the Code of Ethics began on Oct. 14 and closes on Nov. 12 at noon EST. Election materials were sent to all voting Academy fellows and members. Results of the elections will be posted on the Academy’s website at aao.org/about/governance/elections by Nov. 15, 2019.


    Attend Codequest 2020

    Join the most knowledgeable cod­ing experts in ophthalmology for a half-day of professional instruction in your state. Sessions will map out the latest coding updates and steer you through the complex maze of payers’ rules, arriving at successful solutions for appropriately maximizing your reimbursements. 

    Find locations and more informa­tion at aao.org/codequest.


    AAO 2020 in Las Vegas

    AAO 2020 will take place Nov. 14-17, preceded by Subspecialty Day, Nov. 13-14, at The Sands Expo/Venetian in Las Vegas. Be part of the world’s largest and most comprehensive oph­thalmic meeting, offering hundreds of courses and sessions on topics ranging from cataract complications to artificial intelligence in ophthalmol­ogy.

    For more information, visit aao.org/2020.

    2020 Abstract Deadlines

    Want to create content for AAO 2020 in Las Vegas? Submit your ideas for an instruction course or new Skills Trans­fer lab. Abstracts will be accepted from Dec. 12, 2019, through Jan. 14, 2020.

    To submit, visit aao.org/presentercentral.

    Claim CME for AAO 2019

    AAO 2019 and Subspecialty Day reg­istrants whose attendance was verified onsite in San Francisco received an email with a link and instructions for claiming Continuing Medical Educa­tion (CME) credits online. Starting Thursday, Nov. 14, attendees can claim credits (if they did not already do so at the meeting) and obtain transcripts that include AAO 2019/Subspecialty Day credits at aao.org/cme-central. The Academy transcript will not list indi­vidual course attendance, only overall credits claimed.

    For more information, visit aao.org/annual-meeting/cme.

    View the Virtual Meeting

    The Virtual Meeting is a free online component of AAO 2019. View 18 archived sessions from San Francisco (approximately 25 hours of educational content) through Jan. 31, 2020. Access the Virtual Meeting with your Academy login and password. The AAO 2019 Virtual Meeting cannot be reported for CME credit.

    For more information, visit aao.org/virtual-meeting.

    Enjoy AAO 2019 All Year

    AAO 2019 Meetings on Demand pro­vides recorded presentations from the San Francisco meeting and is available in several configurations. The AAO 2019 Complete Package includes all re­corded programming: content from the seven Subspecialty Day meetings, the AAOE Practice Management Program, and highlights from AAO 2019. Nearly 200 hours are included.

    You can also purchase individual Subspecialty Day meetings, just the AAO 2019 Highlights, or only the AAOE Practice Management Program.

    To learn more, visit aao.org/ondemand.


    Academy Presses Medicare Carriers to Increase Avastin Reimbursement

    WPS Health Solutions, a Medicare carrier, said it will increase its reim­bursement for Avastin to $90 for participating providers, effective for claims submitted on or after June 11, 2019.

    Success. The Academy urged WPS and others to increase Avastin pay­ments to help mitigate rising costs. For the past six months, Avastin has been subject to supply shortfalls and price increases due to new federal requirements necessitating production changes to the syringes used to administer the drug.

    WPS’ decision follows an announcement by Noridian, which increased its pricing determination for Avastin in August in response to the Academy and the California Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons’ data and extensive lobbying.

    Repackaging Avastin with the newer Norm-Ject syringe requires more Avastin to be utilized, in contrast to the insulin syringes that outsourc­ing facilities had been using. This change decreases the total number of syringes that can be prepared from a single vial of Avastin. Outsourcing facilities cite this change as a key reason for the increased price of re­packaged Avastin.

    WPS also removed its e-news article that indicated invoices must be submitted for Avastin payments. This is significant, as a WPS plan to re­quire Avastin invoices represented a major potential burden.

    Resource from the Academy. The Academy continues to update its comprehensive resource on persisting nationwide Avastin shortages, along with information on pricing and availability. This is your one-stop shop for understanding what’s changed about this important treatment.

    Visit aao.org/advocacy/avastin-shortage.