Bascom Palmer takes top honors in annual survey

October 15, 2009

Despite a challenging economy and diminished endowment funds, ophthalmology departments around the country continue to grow and thrive with new ideas, significant discoveries, and stronger faculties as they train the next generation of caregivers, researchers and educators.

Key Points

Despite a challenging economy and diminished endowment funds, ophthalmology departments around the country continue to grow and thrive with new ideas, significant discoveries, and stronger faculties as they train the next generation of caregivers, researchers, and educators.

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has embraced that commitment, leading to its selection, for the second consecutive year, as the country's best overall ophthalmology program in the 2009 Ophthalmology Times Best Programs survey.

The institute also ranked first for having the best residency and clinical programs. It ranked second for its research program, however, as the Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, held its own with the top ranking in the category.

"There's always room for improvement, and that's what I want to do," he said. "I want to make sure no stone is unturned."

Striving to improve

It was a year ago that Bascom Palmer broke through 12 years of being ranked second for Best Overall program-behind the Wilmer Eye Institute-to take first place. But Dr. Alfonso, who became director of the institute this past year, was not content with that.

He said that he believes in the need to evaluate constantly the quality of care each patient receives.

Two years ago, the institute began consulting with the Disney Institute to work with physicians and staff.

"They're an outstanding service institution," Dr. Alfonso said. "If we can all learn how Disney keeps its customers happy, we'd go a long way."

In addition, the Studer Group-an outcomes-based health-care consulting firm-evaluates all of the institute's clinical areas and leads patient satisfaction and quality assessment surveys.

"We have metrics that we are putting in front of everyone who works in this institution [saying], 'this is where you are, and this is where we want you to go.' And we provide incentives," he said. "The staff loves it. They want to be better."