By Benjamin S. Chudner, OD, FAAO,
Chief Medical Officer, AEG Vision
March 16, 2022
Shared knowledge in any medical profession is gold. There is nothing more valuable than being able to go to colleagues and discuss ideas about management and treatment of disease, or how to deal with difficult patient situations. Fortunately, there is a practice partner, AEG Vision, that can connect ODs to broader networking opportunities and professional growth than most have ever experienced.
Tapping the Resources of a Wide-Ranging Community Of ODs
We have doctors ranging in experience from fresh out of optometry school to seasoned ODs who have been practicing for 30+ years. We offer the ability for these doctors to collaborate in a collective mentorship. This provides the opportunity for better patient outcomes as doctors have access to expertise and advice that otherwise may not have been available to them.
Developing your career by connecting with more seasoned ODs, and those with experiences different from your own, can be invaluable. Early in my career, as I was beginning to consult on practice management related to the business of contact lenses, I was fortunate to be able to visit thousands of optometric offices throughout the country. Through interactions with these optometrists and observation of their businesses, I was able to see firsthand how they successfully built their practices. This enabled me to better consult for other optometrists and continue the sharing of knowledge.
A Partner that Makes Collaboration a Top Priority
One of our core values at AEG Vision is collaboration. We truly seek out partnerships with our ODs and actively ask for feedback and how we can help doctors grow their practices and careers. By being a part of the same network, rather than competitors, doctors are more willing to share information.
For example, when we have a doctor who is highly specialized in a medical eyecare area like dry eye, and we have another doctor who wants to learn more about that specialty, we pair them together. We have a huge diversity of specialties, including specialty contact lenses, vision therapy and behavioral optometry, dry eye and myopia management. All of our ODs have access to an impressive mix of OD talents and specialties from which to learn.
We have great platforms for collaboration, including Workplace, an online social media outlet in which nearly 500 ODs are connected to each other. There are groups specific to ODs, to certain regions, or to certain interests, similar to groups you would see on Facebook. This allows our doctors to be able to connect with one another quickly from their smartphones at any time. Our doctors routinely post clinical cases on Workplace either for educational purposes or to ask their colleagues for advice about a particular patient. We’ve had several instances where our network of doctors provided advice to one another on how best to manage a case.
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We also have a team of Regional Eyecare Directors, who are ODs as well, and who are intimately involved in coordinating collaboration between doctors. For instance, if we have a doctor in a region who expresses interest in myopia management, that Eyecare Director can reach out to the other Eyecare Directors to find ODs in the field with that experience who may be willing to mentor or provide clinical pearls. Our Eyecare Directors also collect and pass on great ideas that are observed during practice visits. The best ideas come directly from our doctors, and we encourage these ideas to be shared widely among AEG ODs.
Connect with Leading KOLs
We are fortunate to have leading key opinion leaders (KOLs) as part of our AEG family in areas such as medically necessary contact lenses and myopia management. These doctors have successfully integrated enhanced services into their practices. As a part of our network, they can provide valuable insight into how to launch these services in other practices. In addition, interested doctors can spend time in one of these locations to see firsthand how best to add new services to their practice.
Leverage Expertise of Peers to Enhance Patient Care
We have several optometrists who are currently launching new specialties in their practices. In each instance, we facilitate collaboration between those just starting out and those who have already been successful. As our network continues to grow, we will develop standardized protocols to make it even easier for our optometrists to enhance the level of care they provide their patients.