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Ophthalmologists Consider Five Tests and Treatments that Would Benefit from Doctor-Patient Conversations

American Academy of Ophthalmology Joins Choosing Wisely® Campaign to Advance Quality Eye Care and Promote Health Care Savings

WASHINGTON and SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Ophthalmology today announced it is participating in the Choosing Wisely® campaign, a national initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation to encourage conversations between patients and their doctors about treatment options and efficient use of health care dollars. The Academy is one of 17 organizations joining Choosing Wisely today – representing more than 350,000 physicians, nurses, pathologists, radiologists and other health care professionals – to release lists of commonly performed tests, procedures and treatments that patients and physicians should discuss.

The United States spends more on health care than many other industrialized nations, yet often does not achieve better health outcomes. This may be explained in part by an overuse of unnecessary and duplicative medical tests. Choosing Wisely, which promotes best practices and better management of health care resources, complements physicians' efforts to use evidence-based medicine to meet patients' needs.

To ensure that the best care options are considered for ophthalmic patients, the Academy has identified five common tests and treatments that ophthalmologists and patients should discuss:

  1. Preoperative Medical Tests: Don't perform preoperative medical tests – such as an electrocardiogram or blood glucose test – prior to eye surgery unless there are specific signs indicating a need for them.
  2. Imaging Tests: Don't routinely order imaging tests when there are no symptoms or signs of significant eye disease.
  3. Antibiotics for Pink Eye: Don't prescribe antibiotics for pink eye that is caused by an adenovirus.
  4. Antibiotics for Eye Injections: Don't routinely provide antibiotics before or after injections into the vitreous cavity of the eye.
  5. Punctal Plugs for Dry Eye: Don't treat dry eye by inserting punctual plugs before attempting other options, such as medical treatments with artificial tears, lubricants and compresses.

"Some experts estimate that up to 30 percent of health care delivered in the U.S. may be unnecessary or duplicative," said David W. Parke II, M.D., CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Not only does this represent significant waste, but it also underscores patients' unnecessary exposure to risks associated with any test or procedure. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is participating in Choosing Wisely as a way to support evidence-based medicine and promote greater patient involvement in their eye care. By increasing conversations between ophthalmologists and those they treat, we can better guarantee that patients receive the right eye care at the right time."

The Academy's health policy committee led the development of the list of five tests and treatments with input from members and ophthalmic subspecialty societies. Numerous recommendations and supporting evidence were researched and reviewed under the leadership of William L. Rich III, M.D., the Academy's medical director of health policy.

"In medicine, more isn't necessarily better," said Dr. Rich. "Conversations around the five tests and treatments identified by the American Academy of Ophthalmology can reduce the potential for over-treating our patients. We will continue our work to identify treatments that could benefit from better conversations between ophthalmologists and their patients."

To date, twenty-five specialty societies have released lists through Choosing Wisely. The lists released today will be promoted nationwide through the Choosing Wisely campaign's consumer partners, including Consumer Reports, AARP, Wikipedia and the National Business Coalition on Health.

The Academy's participation in the Choosing Wisely campaign is one component of its ongoing efforts to promote responsible use of health care resources, without sacrificing quality of care. The Academy also provides a wide variety of educational programs, products and services to ophthalmologists — medical doctors specializing in the diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment of eye disease and conditions — and the patients they serve in order to improve patient care. The organization's EyeSmart® program features the most trustworthy and medically accurate consumer information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries.

To learn more about Choosing Wisely and to view the complete lists and details about the recommendations, visit www.ChoosingWisely.org. To learn how patients can start conversations about the five ophthalmic tests and treatments above, visit www.geteyesmart.org.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons — Eye M.D.s— with nearly 32,000 members worldwide.  Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" – ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases, infections and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit www.aao.org  The Academy's EyeSmart® program educates the public about the importance of eye health and empowers them to preserve healthy vision. EyeSmart provides the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries. OjosSanos™ is the Spanish-language version of the program. Visit www.geteyesmart.org or www.ojossanos.org  to learn more.

About the ABIM Foundation
The mission of the ABIM Foundation is to advance medical professionalism to improve the health care system. We achieve this by collaborating with physicians and physician leaders, medical trainees, health care delivery systems, payers, policy makers, consumer organizations and patients to foster a shared understanding of professionalism and how they can adopt the tenets of professionalism in practice. To learn more about the ABIM Foundation, visit www.abimfoundation.org, read our blog blog.abimfoundation.org, connect with us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

About Choosing Wisely
First announced in December 2011, Choosing Wisely is part of a multi-year effort led by the ABIM Foundation to support and engage physicians in being better stewards of finite health care resources. Participating specialty societies are working with the ABIM Foundation and Consumer Reports to share the lists widely with their members and convene discussions about the physician's role in helping patients make wise choices. Learn more at www.ChoosingWisely.org

SOURCE American Academy of Ophthalmology

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