Following is a summary of this Mid-Year Forum 2018 session examining the challenges practitioners face in managing information overload.
Information overload challenges practitioners at all levels of training and throughout our entire careers. Maintaining and acquiring new clinical skills and knowledge, advocating for the best care for our patients, navigating reimbursement and changes in practice management, and many other facets of being a physician, confront all of us daily. This session examined best practices, tips, and tricks on how to keep your head above water.
With the challenges of practicing today, ophthalmologists are working longer hours and spending more time on the nonclinical side of practice. This leaves them little time to keep up with the constantly expanding medical information.
Summary of Comments from Speakers
The Reality Today
Louis B. Cantor, MD
Dr. Cantor spoke about the quantity of information that ophthalmologists face daily on both a personal and professional level. He said challenges include:
- Acquisition of knowledge
- Maintenance of clinical skills
- Being an advocate for our patients
- Navigating reimbursement
- Understanding and leveraging the latest technology
- Application of practice management trends
Knowledge is expanding faster than our ability to assimilate and apply effectively as the rate at which medical knowledge is doubling is becoming shorter every year. It was 3.5 years in 2010 and by 2020 is estimated to be 0.2 years or 73 days.
Top challenges in keeping up to date include:
- Too many sources
- Difficult to identify quality articles
- Not enough time
- Too many nonclinical tasks
- Predatory publishing
- Keeping information organized
- Too many emails
Managing Electronic Information
Robert F. Melendez, MD, MBA
Dr. Melendez said people spend about 20 minutes a day on education and learning. Older people read paper newspapers more commonly than younger people. He recommended removing ads from web pages to read faster. The future, he said, is the Academy education app, which will include information from the ONE Network section of AAO.org. The plans for the app include: videos; journal summaries; podcasts; EyeWiki; and the ONE Network’s Diagnose This feature.
Additional apps that can help with consuming information: Flipboard, Twitter
Top items for the Academy education app:
- Selected subspecialty information
- Easier search/navigation
- Remember me (same password as aao.org)
Stephen D. McLeod, MD
Dr. McLeod spoke of the overwhelming number of journals in ophthalmology. There are general ones for clinicians; those that focus on new research; ones that are peer-reviewed; and subspecialty journals and laboratory-preclinical research journals. To keep up, you need to need to establish your own goals for reading journals — either to maintain awareness of emerging techniques, technology and therapy across the entire field and specifically in a subspecialty area or to ensure that we are offering the most up-to-date patient care.
Prioritize which journals to read. For example, you could start with the most critically reviewed – American Journal of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology, JAMA Ophthalmology, British Journal of Ophthalmology. Or start with your subspecialty journal.
As you read, ask yourself: Am I up-to-date? Might this change my practice? When in doubt, skim it. If you learn something, read it more carefully.
One additional shortcut: Use the Editors’ Choice link on the ONE Network page that lists the articles that the editors have found to be most useful.
Tips for managing journals
- Review abstracts monthly.
- Review Editors’ Choice.
- Read the EyeNet summary of journal articles.
- Read only articles that are relevant.
- Save articles for later either electronically through the cloud or tear articles of interest out of the journal.
My Dashboard for Effective Practice Management
Ann M. Hulett, CMPE
Ms. Hulett spoke of the large volume of reports of data needed to manage the modern practice. However, no one has time to review multiple pages. You need to develop a one-page monthly report that provides an overview of the practice. This report should reflect the current goals of your practice.
Each practice should decide what key performance indicators (KPIs) it wants to track and review month over month. Some important KPIs to consider tracking include:
- MD clinic days and OD clinic days;
- total patient visits; new patient percentage;
- state of financials at the end of the month — AR, days over 90 days; cash balance; line of credit balance;
- medical and optical receipts;
- expenses such as staff comp and benefits;
- total operating and net operating income;
- medical receipt per visit;
- cost per visit;
- wait time for new appts by office;
- optical jobs by office.
You can benchmark against yourself or complete and use the data from the Academy’s Academetrics benchmarking survey.
For your KPI reports to be successful they should be timely (no later than mid-month); consistent (be sure to use the same data at the same time each month; trended; and in line with your practice goals
What KPIs would you like on a one-page report?
- Days until next appointment
- Expenses broken down into staff and direct
- AR by payer
- Time per encounter
- Variance year over year
- % of new patients vs. established patients
- Total charges; total collections
Mastering the Annual Meeting
F. Rick Palmon, MD
Strategies for planning for a successful meeting:
- Plan your calendar
- When you register
- On the Mobile Meeting Guide
- Use the Recommendations
- People like you were interested in these topics.
- What has to happen at the meeting and what can you look at later such as the posters and videos.
- How do you prefer to learn?
- Active — take a skills transfer course; attend an Academy Café, Learning Lounge or Breakfast with the Experts
- Traditional — attend Subspecialty Day, instruction courses, or symposia
- Mobile Meeting Guide
- Available in mid-September
- Online calendar created during registration will transfer when signed it.
- Has everything you need to be successful at the meeting.
- Exhibit Hall
- Virtual exhibition — a tool available on the Academy’s website. You can search by company name or product categories and map out your visit to the exhibit hall.
- Exhibitor Locator — a booth in front of the exhibit hall where staff can help you find the exhibitors important to you.
What tips do you have for managing the annual meeting?
- Plan what topics and speakers ahead of time.
- Use the Mobile Meeting Guide.
- Plan which exhibitors you want to see.
- Import events to calendar
Summary of Audience Comments
- Consider a meeting app that provides alerts.
- App to save articles for further reading – Pocket. Can tag articles so you can read offline. BrowZine is also an app that can save articles. Available for university libraries.
- Should add Google maps for the convention center.
- Would like the search for the ONE Network and AAO.org overall to be more focused and refined.
Review more sessions in the Mid-Year Forum 2018 Report.