May 26, 2015
Eye care has traditionally been delivered in a doctor’s office. Although the setting has changed over the last century from only the classic “private office” setting to include shopping mall locations and retail store environments, the model was basically one of a patient going to the doctor’s practice location. Part of this relationship was due to the need for the heavy equipment related to the refracting lane. There have always been some unique versions of eye care as in a hospital, health care clinic or other interesting location, but, again, usually the patient came to see the eye doctor.
In today’s evolving health care reform market, there are changes afoot that traditional eye doctors need to at least understand if not to actually consider for participation. One of the key principles of health care reform is “primary care.” We have discussed the fact that eye doctors don’t quite understand primary care and how it relates to eye care in spite of optometrists being identified and in some cases paid to provide primary care services. The principle requires that the majority of the population see a primary health care provider and have a basic health care review that looks at family history and review of symptoms and collects basic vital signs. This is followed by health education and a long-term management plan for long term wellness.