The Optometric Minute

Growth Opportunity: Communicate with Other Medical Professionals

Sept. 28, 2016

Ted McElroy, OD, believes that ODs can play an integral part of healthcare today by proactively communicating patient information to primary healthcare providers and specialists for co-management. Develop templates and protocols to be clear, comprehensive and HIPAA-compliant in sharing data and images.


DEVELOP NEW COMMUNICATION TEMPLATES. Make it easy and fast for co-managing doctors to see the patient’s diagnosis, the medications they are on, and why they have been sent to the specialist. 

INCLUDE INSTRUMENTATION PHOTOS. Send photos that show the issue discussed in the brief you send. For instance, send a picture of a diabetic patient’s macula to show the effects of retinopathy on the patient’s eyes.

EDUCATE ON THE ROLE OF OPTOMETRY. Let the medical directors of accountable care organizations know that optometrists do more than just prescribe glasses and contact lenses–that you also monitor and treat the patient’s eye health, too.

OPTIMIZE EHR. Find ways to use your electronic health record to better communicate directly with other eyecare professionals, and with MDs.

SPECIALIZE WHEN YOU CAN. If you practice in a rural setting it makes sense to focus more on general eye healthcare, versus an OD in a highly populated urban setting in which the patient has many choices within a short distance. For ODs based in dense city environments, finding a specialty like vision therapy or specialty contact lenses, can set you apart from the competition.

CONTINUE EVOLVING. Continue finding ways to provide enhanced care to patients, including offering services that are not covered by insurance, but which improve their eye health and the quality of their lives.

Ted McElroy, OD, is the owner of Vision Source Tifton in Tifton, Ga, and the president of SECO. To contact him:

To Top
Subscribe Today for Free...
And join more than 35,000 optometric colleagues who have made Review of Optometric Business their daily business advisor.