Wednesday, November 22 2017

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Interview with Dr. Jeffrey Guthrie, New President of OAO – Part 3

Infoclip.ca recently interviewed the new President for this three part series about his vision of Optometry in Ontario and how the Association can best serve its members. Here are part one and part two of our three-part interview.

Infoclip: How are relations between optometry and the “other two Os”: ophthalmology and opticianry? Where do you see that relationship going over the next few of years?

J.G.: I think it’s become a very collaborative relationship. For the last several years, ophthalmology and optometry have been participating in the Eye Health Council of Ontario, EHCO, and that’s led to some very good evidence-based guidelines on the collaborative treatment and management of patients with diabetes, glaucoma and AMD. The EHCO table has been very useful in allowing a regular dialogue, and earlier this year we also invited opticianry to participate in that forum, so we look forward to building a relationship with them. We have representatives from their Association and from their College, and there’s also an academic member.

Infoclip: Dispensing accounts for a significant portion of revenue for independent Optometrists. What do you see as the future for Optometrists in a competitive market, and what role does the Association play in helping Optometrists in that facet of their practice?

J.G.: There’s always going to be competitive threats of that nature. It doesn’t matter what profession or business you’re in, they exist and in many cases they increase over time. What the Association is trying to do to help our members with that is to provide them with the education to ensure their practices can meet those challenges so they remain strong and independent. Part of our membership proposition is that we help them with some of the background business that helps them deliver care.

Infoclip: Driving up to two or three times a week between Bancroft is a significant commitment, what motivated you personally to undertake the challenge of being president of the OAO?

J.G.: I see the profession as at a juncture in its evolution. We have a lot of the challenges on the remuneration front. The costs of business are going up, costs of health care are going up. There are questions about the equity of access to care for patients with eye problems. The government budget is very tight. My colleagues, the Optometrists in the province, are very well positioned to do more for patients. I would like to help guide them in achieving that, and to ensure that our profession is better integrated within the primary care for Ontarians.

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