Optometry Australia, practice owners and optometrists are leveraging disruption to change the way they work and deliver services now and into the future.
Disruption has become part of our daily lives over the past months and of course we have had no choice but to adapt. Across the country and the world we are seeing sectors, businesses and individuals do more than adapt by considering the opportunities that come from disruption.
now is the time to consider initiatives that will add value to patient care while driving our sector forward to fulfil its potential in eye health care
Fortunately Optometry Australia grasped the concept of leveraging disruption many months before COVID-19 framed our lives. We wanted to ensure that members had the opportunity to achieve their plausible preferred future, by building capability in how we assess risk and consider opportunities. We had begun planning a series of workshops to take place around the country and have now adapted these to online initiatives that will provide broad concepts and the opportunity to dive deeper to further enhance our members’ skills.
At an organisational level, we have used this innovative strategic approach to tackle initiatives that we believe will have long term benefit for optometrists and their communities.
Often it is about systemic change with initiatives starting with the premise of how we can improve patient access, provide more timely care and offer efficiencies in the health system. This process also takes into consideration optometrists working to their full scope of practice. Disruption can often provide an environment to get to a desired position relatively quickly, rather than the incremental progress that has happened in the past. It requires collaboration across our divisions, membership, the health and medical sectors and government, and it is energising to work with diverse stakeholders allowing innovation to thrive. We believe that now is the time to consider initiatives that will add value to patient care while driving our sector forward to fulfil its potential in eye health care. In the rapidly changing, environment of COVID-19, we are finding a strong appetite to succeed among stakeholders who also are seeking to achieve systemic change as part of a broader aim to reform the health system with patients at the centre. The initiatives are many and varied, to adapt to specific regional needs.
Leveraging disruption can happen at this system level, as well as for individual optometrists and practices. It is exciting and inspiring to hear how members are assessing the current situation and considering different future individual employment models, looking to potentially expand their work into varying areas of practice or the sector. Asking themselves, can I have multiple employers? Can I pursue other areas of interest within the sector? Or at the other end of the spectrum, should I dive deeply into one area of interest? Do I have the time to take additional education and training opportunities?
Likewise there have been some innovative case studies from practices that are reimagining their business models – potentially looking at the models detailed by Optometry 2040 and making them a reality now. Some weeks ago our President, Darrell Baker, told us that by working collaboratively with his staff, he and his business partner have been able to consider very different ways to deliver services for the future. Time has enabled quality strategic planning and afforded the opportunity to investigate a variety of models and opportunities. Importantly, they have been able to ‘up skill’ in areas that are often ignored due to lack of time.
As we have gathered case studies from the membership, it has been wonderful to hear that optometrists are being afforded the opportunity to use their full scope of practice, in an effort to ensure patients get treatment close to home and in a timely manner. The integration of telehealth and collaborative care models with ophthalmology has expanded, and we will ensure that this continues to progress.
The COVID-19 crisis has turned our world upside down. Optometry Australia has worked tirelessly to support members to ensure they can get through to the other side, while also ensuring the sector emerges stronger, more resilient and robust than ever before.
Lyn Brodie is the National Chief Executive Officer of Optometry Australia.