Considerations for a co-managed care strategy

November 21, 2016
Experts in co-management offer tips and considerations for doctors exploring perioperative care model.

Excerpted from page 32 of the October 2016 edition of AOA Focus.

Thinking about coordinating patient care? There are many nuances to consider before jumping into a co-managed partnership, but all revolve around a solid understanding of the co-management agreement and doing what's best for the patient.

Paul Ajamian, O.D., and Randall Reichle, O.D., experts in co-management, offer tips and considerations for doctors exploring this model for perioperative care.

Make contact

Identify potential co-managing ophthalmologists by turning to the best resource: local optometric colleagues. These doctors of optometry already know the local surgeons with the best rapport and approach to co-managed care. Once a doctor has compiled a sufficient list of surgeons to approach, schedule meetings over lunch or simply arrange a visit to their practices, Dr. Ajamian suggests.  

Determine care level

That meeting is an important time for the doctor of optometry to query the surgeon about his or her stance on co-managed care and toward optometry's scope, for that matter, Dr. Reichle says. Ask to observe a procedure to see the "bedside manner" of the doctor and staff with patients. Dr. Ajamian recommends discussing clinical issues and assessing the level of care offered in the practice; does the surgeon offer state-of-the-art care with premium lens options, advanced technology, or even dropless surgery for patient convenience? Essentially: Is the surgeon doing everything possible to maximize positive patient outcomes?   

Bolster communication

Co-management requires strong communication, so it's vital that the primary care doctor of optometry and surgeon are on the same page from the start about how this partnership is to be approached. Put expectations on the table, and that includes the frequency and form of communication regarding the patient, Dr. Reichle says. Use written documentation of pre-op requirements, medications, post-op visit schedules and conditions under which the surgeon would need to see the patient to avoid a breakdown in communication, he says.

Read more about co-management on page 28 of the October 2016 edition of AOA Focus.

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