• John Hovanesian, MD, FACS
  • John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS, focuses his blog on real-world comanagement cases with valuable take-home messages. Dr. Hovanesian is a specialist in cornea, external ocular disease and refractive and cataract surgery with Harvard Eye Associates in Laguna Hills, Calif., a clinical instructor at UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute and a member of the Primary Care Optometry News Editorial Board.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Take steps to ensure patients get the medications they need

John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS

In my last blog post on this topic, we discussed the astronomically rising cost of generic drugs in the U.S. and why this is happening. Certainly it’s a frustrating problem for patients and doctors alike. Here are some tips that may be helpful in navigating the system:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why generic drug costs are rising

John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS

Most of us have noticed the dramatic increase in generic drug costs at the pharmacy, or we’ve heard feedback about it from our patients. But why has this happened, and what can we do about it?

First, let’s identify the problem. In the past 2 years, generic drug makers have raised their prices on many age-old generic medications such as doxycycline and pravastatin, each of which increased tenfold in price in 2013, according to a survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Teenager inspires others to live life fully

John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS

A remarkable 17-year-old young man died in New England a few weeks ago. His name was Sam Berns, and he had a rare disorder called progeria, which results from an untreatable genetic mutation that causes aging of all the body’s cells. Sam was diagnosed shortly after birth with this affliction, which occurs in one in 8 million newborns. His parents, both physicians, formed a foundation to conduct research on the condition. Throughout his short life, they also wisely advised Sam to choose act...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Google Glass carries potential to improve patient care

John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS

Google recently announced an arrangement with Vision Service Plan in which VSP would provide frames custom designed for Google Glass, Google’s not-yet-released wearable computer monitor.

While this new device has all kinds of implications for texting while driving, secretly photographing others with its built-in camera and faking one’s way through cocktail party conversation as an expert in every subject, not all uses of Google Glass will be nefarious — or cheesy, for that matter.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Putting patients' interests first solves a lot of problems

John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS

In December, a federal judge in Connecticut placed an injunction on United Healthcare hours before the insurance organization dropped thousands of doctors from its Medicare Advantage plans. UHC, after unilaterally altering its physician contracts without consenting with the contracted physicians, sought to drop about 2,200 participating physicians, according to an article on Healio.com. Two separate medical societies in Connecticut successfully petitioned the court for this injunction in the int...

Friday, November 1, 2013

A successful day in surgery

John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS

A respected colleague of mine who teaches in a nearby county hospital likes to say, “A successful day in surgery is one where every patient gets a PC IOL, you get to eat lunch and your feet stay dry.” In post-residency practice, we have a little higher standard. But until recently, surgery was considered satisfactory just because it was free of complications. Increasingly, patients expect and deserve better results as we see a greater adoption by surgeons of new technologies and gr...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Satisfactory surgical result redefined

John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS

A respected colleague of mine who teaches in a nearby county hospital likes to say, “A successful day in surgery is one where every patient gets a PC IOL, you get to eat lunch and your feet stay dry.” In post-residency practice, we have a little higher standard. But until recently, surgery was considered satisfactory just because it was free of complications. Increasingly, patients expect and deserve better results as we see a greater adoption by surgeons of new technologies and gre...

Monday, September 30, 2013

An outsider's view of the FDA approval process

John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS

Two weeks ago I had the unique opportunity to present before the FDA Ophthalmic Devices Panel the clinical results and experience with the ReSure ocular sealant proposed for approval for sealing leaking cataract wounds. Some background: When a company’s first-in-class drug or device seeks approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the FDA works with the company, called the “sponsor,” to design a trial to determine its safety and effectiveness. Before approval, a pan...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Gonioprism simplifies iStent implantation

John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS

About a year ago, my partners and I began using the iStent trabecular bypass device shortly after its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This wonderful device has changed our thinking about cataract surgery and the glaucoma patient, allowing us to lower pressure in the vast majority of cases with a fairly simple device whose implantation accompanies cataract surgery nicely. I have used it in 25 to 30 patients, including two undergoing Descemet’s stripping endothelial kera...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Three truths about EHR

John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS

Dan Steen, one of my mentors in residency and a brilliant surgeon, once told me, “John, you don’t want to be the first guy doing a new procedure, but you don’t want to be the last.” Those same words ring true for the adoption of technology in the office; while leading edge is good, it’s best to avoid the scars that come from being the very first to use raw tech products — the so-called bleeding edge. Our practice was a very early adopter of electronic healt...