Practice Management Programme

Colin Kerr

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2018

THE world of ophthalmology has changed dramatically in the last 10 years with new procedures and techniques helping both clinicians and patients get better outcomes.
Patients now have higher expectations than they did in the past, not only in terms of the treatment they receive, but also the level of service they receive.
The dramatic growth of social media has added a new dimension to the doctor-patient relationship.
Patients can now surf the internet and other outlets such as Facebook as they seek to enhance their vision.
They are also able to comment directly over the internet on the quality of the treatment they have received, or expect to receive.
In many cases, this is not just about better outcomes in quality of vision.
Patients who are paying for premium treatments also expect value for money and they will be quick to shop around before they decide which ophthalmologist will receive their customer.
Paul Rosen, chairman of the ESCRS Practice Management & Development Committee, had the foresight to see this new trend when he was president of the ESCRS in 2008 and 2009.
In an interview in European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons – A History (Gill&Macmillan 2013) he stated: “The principal focus of the ESCRS has been, and always will be, clinical education and research. However, there are other aspects to our professional lives which we ignore at our peril.”
Dr Rosen went on to discuss the need for ophthalmologists to develop business as well as clinical skills.
“Therefore, to advance and introduce new technologies, we have to maximise the efficiency of our practices, public or private, and work in a more business-like way.”

This vision inspired the establishment of the ESCRS Practice Management and Development Programme in 2009.
A key part of this programme, now in its tenth year, is the annual day-long practice management session where ophthalmologists and some of the top marketing consultants in the world of ophthalmology advise ESCRS delegates on how they can best manage and grow their practices.
Topics discussed at this year’s programme included: How to Position And Prepare Your Ophthalmic Practice For Purchase, How To Write Compelling Direct Response Copy For Websites, Social Media And Email Marketing, How To Attract Millennials And Baby Boomers With Your Digital Footprint and Social Media For Ophthalmologists: Risks And Benefits.
One of the keynote lectures of the day was elivered by Brian Honan on the topic GDPR – Your Unlimited Liability.
The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) a new European Union regulation introduced this year, seeks to create a harmonised data protection law framework across the EU and aims to give citizens back the control of their personal data, whilst imposing strict rules on those hosting and ‘processing’ this data, anywhere in the world.
The Regulation also introduces rules relating to the free movement of personal data.
In this module, Mr Honan outlined what the new EU regulation means for ophthalmologists and their patients.
The programme concluded with an Ask The Experts session where ESCRS Practice Management and Development Committee members answered questions from the audience about some of the key issues discussed during the session.