Ophthalmology Business

MAR 2018

Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.

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March 2018 • Ophthalmology Business 7 References 1. Linz MO, et al. Evaluation of medical stu- dents' perception of an ophthalmology career. Ophthalmology. 2017 Nov 28. Epub ahead of print. 2. Association of American Medical Colleges. Percentage change in the number of first-year ACGME residents and fellows by specialty, 2010–2015. 3. National Center for Health Workforce Analysis. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Ad- ministration. National and regional projections of supply and demand for surgical specialty practitioner 2013–2025. Dec 2016. 4. Xierali IM, et al. Current and future status of diversity in ophthalmologist workforce. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016;134:1016–23. 5. Cooper LA, et al. Patient-centered commu- nication, ratings of care, and concordance of patient and physician race. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139:907–15. Editors' note: Dr. Scott has no financial interests related to her comments. Contact information Scott: ascott28@jhmi.edu that are more likely to suffer vision loss," Dr. Scott said, adding later that to reverse this trend she thinks earlier exposure to ophthalmology and more mentors in the ophthalmic sub- specialty could help increase interest. "As medical schools design curricu- la, it is important to keep in mind that knowledge of ophthalmology is critical to all other areas of medicine. You're going to have a patient who complains of blurry vision or some- thing like floaters. All of us in medi- cine need to be able to at least have a basic knowledge of the eye." As for her own pitch to those who might not have considered ophthalmology, Dr. Scott cited its "incredible breadth and diversity." "Even though the eye is a very small organ, we have many different subspecialties that are completely different from one another. … Also, there is potential for research and different types of applications of imaging and technology in our field. As ophthalmologists, we're on the forefront of many different clinical trials in medicine; a lot of those breakthroughs and clinical trials were first done in ophthalmology," Dr. Scott said. OB This was followed by not having enough exposure (or knowledge) of the specialty, and it being considered too specialized, among other reasons. Other data, such as that from the Association of American Medical Col- leges Center for Workforce Studies, shows a 10.2% decline in ophthal- mology residents and fellows from 2010 to 2015, and a recent report from the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis projected that ophthalmology would see the great- est shortage in physicians within a surgical specialty by 2025. 2,3 "The population is aging and the prevalence of eye diseases that pri- marily affect older individuals, such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, is growing … Similarly, diseases like diabetic retinopathy, which is the most common disease in working-age people, is growing," Dr. Scott said. "We need a workforce to be able to accommodate patients because the eye care needs are going to continue to grow and grow." The survey by Linz et al. eval- uated underrepresented minorities as a subset as they expressed their perspectives on ophthalmology as a career choice because many ocular diseases affect minority groups in larger numbers. Linz et al. cited other research that suggests patients being treated by physicians of the same ethnicity might be more satisfied with their care, and physicians who are part of underrepresented minori- ty groups are more likely to practice in underserved areas. 4,5 "The current population of the ophthalmology physician workforce does not mirror the growing numbers of medically underserved populations "The current population of the ophthalmology physician workforce does not mirror the growing numbers of medically underserved populations that are more likely to suffer vision loss. " —Adrienne W. Scott, MD

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