James Auran, MD, a professor of ophthalmology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and president of the American Society of Ophthalmic Trauma, outlines the benefits and challenges of transferring ophthalmic care to outpatient facilities.
Transitioning to an outpatient model provides opportunities for savings and efficiency, said James Auran, MD, a professor of ophthalmology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and president of the American Society of Ophthalmic Trauma.
As ophthalmology has evolved into an outpatient specialty over the past few decades, what challenges have come along with this transition?
I wouldn't look at it so much as challenges, as much as the incredible opportunities for cost savings, for efficiency, and for just making it a more patient-friendly environment. I think it's been a tremendous advance. I've seen very few downsides, although there is one small one with trauma which we could go into. Ophthalmologists, in general, have shied away from caring for trauma. It's disruptive to your practice to have a patient come in who needs immediate care, especially if it's complex. The skill set involved is specialized, and it's not something you want to do once every 2 years. When doctors were hospital-based, it was a little bit more, it'd be more common in their practice to encounter this. The trend toward being in private office groups and in surgery centers has sort of put a lot of eye doctors out of touch with trauma care.