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HomemioptometryDefend the Position?

Defend the Position?

When the old approach doesn’t achieve the best outcomes, it’s time to change course.


Andrew McKinnon

Whenever there is a downturn in the economy, complaints of all forms go up. We certainly see this in optometry, where at present Optometry NSW/ACT is dealing with a constant stream of complaints from members of the public about optometrists – almost all being retail-related.

The problem is that most of these complaints are, in the strict legal sense, not sustainable. In other words, the optometrist is in the right. Why is that a problem? Because ‘strict legal sense’ often doesn’t help if the cost of defending your position grossly outweighs the amount of money involved.

…the price of ‘principle’ can be unjustifiably high

Current example: an optometrist has rendered a contact lens consult to a patient and charged $80. The consult was fine, properly conducted, but now the patient wants a refund – they’ve clearly had one of those ‘change of mind’ moments we’re all familiar with. Now there’s no doubt the optom is in the right – but to defend the complaint will cost far more than $80. So my practical advice is to cut the losses – give the refund and move on.

Now I know that many of you will disagree with this advice, feeling (quite correctly) that the patient is just gaming the system and you’re being unfairly done by. That’s true – but as any lawyer will tell you, the price of ‘principle’ can be unjustifiably high.

Is there any easy solution to this situation? Sadly, not that I have yet discovered. It is, to a large extent, one of the downsides of the retail aspects of business. The only advice I can offer is to make sure all services are very clearly explained and patients are clear about the fees involved. However, sometimes we all end up with a patient who is just patently unreasonable – and that’s the bit we all struggle to deal with in a way that we feel is fair.

O Vic

Pete Haydon

Since SRC earlier this year, we’ve been having a lively discussion with our delegates about what constitutes a truly engaging conference. It’s fair to say there are diverse views! While I’ve got a lot of data, I’m always looking for more – if you have something you think we can do better please contact me on (AUS) 03 9652 9100.

I’ve heard engagement described as an interaction between subject and object that occurs cognitively (how involved you are); emotionally (how passionate you are), and behaviourally (what action you take).

Naturally, that’s what we’re after – high levels of involvement, plenty of passion about content, and people talking about our events (including SRC). Generally, we view disengagement as a consequence or result of poor program design. Broadly speaking, this leads to poor learning outcomes.

Therefore, the discussion has been based around how Optometry Victoria events – in particular SRC – can take the lead in strengthening delegate’s levels of engagement, thereby enhancing learning outcomes for attendees.

This has lead us to be proactive in the design of the SRC 2017 program and I’m excited to say that some interesting ideas are percolating.

While of course the lecture/audience style presentation will remain the cornerstone of the offering, in order to make best use of delegates’ time, we will be including flexible learning opportunities, ‘presenters of the future’ platforms and break-out learning spaces.

Sounds like fun! I can’t give too much away at this time with the program only just being finalised. All of the detail will be released when early-bird registrations open on 30 January 2017.

While there will be a lot going on at SRC 2017, for the first time in a few years our delegates will get to enjoy a truly unique Melbourne experience – Friday night footy at the MCG! Go you mighty Hawks!

Looking forward to seeing you all in May.