The Australian College of Optometry (ACO) has taken the lead in aiding optometrists to evaluate which areas of CPD education will have an impact on their care of patients.
The ACO has launched the first in a series of new and unique online programs for optometrists to enable them to self-assess their knowledge of specific eye conditions and their ability to provide an initial diagnosis of the condition, within a simulated and timed patient consultation.
The program developed by the ACO Education Division in consultation with the wider optometry community, was piloted by registered optometrists (including ACO members) and aims to ultimately support the delivery of best practice eye health care.
Following completion of a series of 90 questions that mimic the clinical process of diagnosis, the participating optometrist will receive an immediate feedback score. For the first time in Australian optometric education, their score will be benchmarked against other peers who have also completed the module. Feedback will provide valuable information to help identify and address any learning opportunities and guide their future education programs to meet their skill development needs.
The ACO has launched the first in a series of new and unique online programs
Participants will be directed to further reference materials on completion of the program, enabling them to update their knowledge and diagnostic techniques. Additionally, they will be able to re-sit the test within 12 months following further study, in order to assess their progress.
Maureen O’Keefe, Chief Executive Officer from the ACO said, “It is designed as a reflective educational tool and will be particularly valuable for practicing optometrists who seek to identify learning opportunities and test their skills against industry standards and their peers”.
Early career optometrists who have not had extensive experience identifying specific eye conditions, and optometrists who have been out of the workforce for some time, will find it particularly useful. Employers will also find it useful as a development tool for their employees.
GLAUCOMA DIAGNOSIS MODULE LAUNCHED
Ms. O’Keefe said the first program to be released is on initial glaucoma diagnosis. “Glaucoma is an under diagnosed ocular disease and it is estimated that 50 per cent of people with glaucoma remain undetected,” she said. “Owing to the complexity of the glaucoma disease process, it can be challenging to diagnose and optometrists have an enormous responsibility to ensure they are not over or under referring their patients. The program aims to simulate aspects of a typical patient consultation and provides additional training in glaucoma diagnosis.”
The evidence based program was developed using the NHMRC 2010 guidelines on glaucoma diagnosis and management as well as the recommended guidelines from White and Goldberg (2014) on collaborative care of glaucoma patients and suspects by ophthalmologists and optometrists in Australia.
The program, piloted by practicing optometrists, uses a rigorous approach and assesses nine glaucoma diagnosis skills; communication, anterior eye, intraocular pressure, optic nerve, optical coherence tomography (OCT), visual field examination, assessment, differential diagnosis and planning, including treatment and referral.
The skills are based around the SOAP format i.e. Subjective, Objective, Assessment and Plan, and there are time limits set against each skill being tested. Over 90 per cent of the material presented requires some degree of visual or data interpretation.
All 90 questions are based on real and practical cases across the nine skill sets. Once finished the optometrist is provided with a colour coded results page showing strengths and weaknesses across the nine skills, their individual score across each skill and an overall total score. The report also contains a benchmarking feature.
This feedback would give the user a quick overview of their level of skill in diagnosing glaucoma. Against each skill tested, a ‘what’s next’ icon will lead them to further education options to improve that skill. This will support the development of individual learning goals by identifying areas for further development.
This online program takes between 45–75 minutes to complete and will provide a guide for further study options. Further self-assessment modules under development include diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, high myopia and anterior eye. Each program costs AU$100 plus GST and is redeemable for a limited time on other ACO education. For enquiries please contact the ACO Education Division on (03) 9349 7477.