Optometry Western Australia’s (OWA) annual conference, WAVE, may have been cancelled due to COVID-19, but enthusiasm for the program has not been dampened.
Hundreds of registered WAVE delegates have ventured online to watch livestreamed presentations by Dr Lauren Ayton and Dr Alex Hui, and a similar response is expected when Dr Kate Gifford presents on myopia management and Jason Holland presents on dry eye in the coming weeks.
optometrists are expected to turn to more live streamed conferences to gain crucial face-to-face CPD points
“We had 570 people attend Dr Lauren Ayton’s webcast on wet age-related macular degeneration on Tuesday afternoon and 670 attend Dr Alex Hui’s pain and infection management webcast on Sunday evening,” said Simon Hanna, Professional Development and Clinical Policy Manager at Optometry Australia, who orchestrated with the online conferencing.
Evidencing optometrists’ engagement he added, “We had an unprecedented registration to attendance conversion of 95% – that is to say, 95% of those who registered, attended live for the entire duration of the presentations.”
Evan McRae, Executive Officer of OWA, said feedback was exceptionally positive. “It was a shame to have to cancel our annual conference at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle as registrations were looking stronger than 2019, however our first two livestreamed presentations definitely reached a broader audience than those who had registered for the conference, and we are excited to bring more over the coming weeks.”
Flexible Approach to Face-to-Face CPD
As the COVID-19 pandemic increasingly impacts the eye health profession, optometrists are expected to turn to more live streamed conferences to gain crucial face-to-face CPD points.
While live streaming has not previously been an acceptable way to acquire face-to-face CPD, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has said it is prepared to be flexible in its approach, under the current circumstances.
According to AHPRA, one-on-one education conducted via videoconferencing, rather than face-to-face is permissible “while there are recommendations or orders in place by the relevant health department to minimise or avoid interpersonal contact. Once the Board has approved the one-on-one education to be done, it may be conducted via videoconference with the agreement of the health practitioner’s Board-approved educator”.
However online education cannot substitute one-on-one education.
According to AHPRA, “online education will usually not be an appropriate education medium when a Board has required the learning to be conducted one-on-one. One-on-one education is a fully interactive learning environment which provides continuous feedback to both the leaner and the educator. The educator can subsequently provide qualitative and quantitative feedback to the Board to inform it about any ongoing risk to be mitigated.”
As part of the WAVE@Home line-up, Dr Kate Gifford will speak on Myopia Management – Kids, Contacts and the Visual Environment on Sunday 26 April at 2pm AEST (12pm WA time) and Jason Holland will speak on How to Mix the Perfect Dry Eye Cocktail on Sunday 3 May at 2pm AEST (12pm WA time). Both have therapeutics points.
Australian Vision Convention – Optometry Queensland/Northern Territory’s annual conference, will live stream its entire program on the designated weekend of 4 –5 April. Register here.