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HomeminewsVision Hospital Group Sets Sights on Staff and Patient Experiences

Vision Hospital Group Sets Sights on Staff and Patient Experiences

The Nursing team within Vision Hospital Group (VHG) are being encouraged to undertake innovative research projects that explore opportunities to enhance patient experiences and outcomes.

Operated by Australia’s largest provider of private ophthalmic services, Vision Eye Institute (VEI) and VHG has created the Future Vision Foundation (FVF) to support these projects.

Without testing a change in process or an idea, how can we truly know whether it will add value and be worthwhile in enhancing patient care and clinical outcomes?

“The not-for-profit Future Vision Foundation encourages and supports the research efforts of staff and associated clinicians, including those with little-to-no formal research experience. The Foundation has been a dream since Vision Eye Institute first began – born from a shared desire by many of us to improve diagnosis, to improve treatments and to improve healthcare experiences for patients with eye condition” explained FVF Chairman, Associate Professor Tim Roberts.

Fostering Talent and Innovation

Unlike other research programs, this model widens the net of potential candidates and is open to those within the VHG organisation who interact with patients – including staff with first-hand experience in patient-centred care whose insights can help improve clinical outcomes.

“We are seeing orthoptists, nurses, optometrists and practice managers keen to get in and have a go – which is exactly what Future Vision Foundation was set up for,” he said.

Gabriela Kalofonos, the Director of Nursing (DON) at Forest Road Day Surgery, is leading a research group that was recently awarded an FVF grant.

“To be honest, I never thought I would have the opportunity to do something like this while working for a private health facility. I have always been interested in research but thought I’d need to go back to university or work in a large public hospital, especially given that I’m a nurse. I’m really pleased that VHG and FVF offer an initiative that allows staff like me to contribute to healthcare research and best practice,” she said.

The National Quality and Risk Manager for VHG and VEI, Kylie Bennett, is partnering with Ms Kalofonos in this research opportunity. “I believe there is a lot we can learn from research projects across VHG. Being part of an organisation that invests in its people and research is a joy for someone in my position, as it offers the opportunity to create patient care systems of the highest quality,” she said.

Post-Surgery Follow-Up Project

Their application, entitled ‘Post-surgery automated text follow-up program: characteristics, acceptability and role in cataract patient care,’ sought inspiration from a daily predicament.

“There had been a lot of discussion in the DON group about the most time-efficient way to perform post-op calls. Our team created an SMS-based system that allows patients to communicate if their eye is healing well, or if they need a post-op call from a nurse before their face-to-face follow-up. We’re hoping that this initiative frees nurses to do more clinical tasks and prioritise patients who require additional care. This research grant will allow us to test if patients respond to this system and help refine our processes,” said Ms Kalofonos.

Now that their application has been approved, Ms Kalofonos, Ms Bennett and the rest of the research team can get the ball rolling. “For beginner researchers like Kylie and myself, we’re seeking counsel from VEI mentors including Dr Chris Hodge (FVF’s postdoctoral Clinical Research Coordinator) and Dr Jason Cheng (Managing Partner at Vision Eye Institute Hurstville). We are putting together the required documents for ethics approval. Once that has been approved, we will begin collecting data,” said Ms Kalofonos.

Ms Bennett believes the research will have an important practical impact. “I truly believe that research is integral to quality systems and process design. Without testing a change in process or an idea, how can we truly know whether it will add value and be worthwhile in enhancing patient care and clinical outcomes?”

The FVF is currently accepting applications for research support in 2024. Visit: futurevisionfoundation.com.au.

About Vision Hospital Group

Operated by VEI, the VHG network comprises 11 boutique day surgeries across Australia, which are dedicated to meeting the unique needs of ophthalmologists and ophthalmic patients. The day surgeries are equipped with the latest ophthalmic equipment and instrumentation.

All VHG day surgeries are fully accredited to National Safety and Quality Health Services Standards (mandatory) and ISO 9001 (optional), with an on-site Director of Nursing to lead the clinical support team. The VHG In Safe Hands program encompasses emotional safety and wellbeing, infection control and a commitment to high-quality service.
A continuing commitment to enhanced patient experiences and outcomes remains top-of-mind for the VHG team, driving the organisation to set its sights on innovative approaches to eye care research.

Visit: visionhospitalgroup.com.au/for-surgeons.