Ophthalmology could lead 'next movement of value for health care,' says keynote speaker

November 9, 2008

The specialty of ophthalmology is "in the cross hairs of the demographic transition and the demand for services and the cost of care in the United States" occurring as the aging of the large baby boomer population necessitates increased amounts of clinical care. By rising to the challenge, however, the profession can serve as an example to other specialties, said Harvey V. Fineberg, MD, PhD, in his keynote address during the opening session of the American Academy of Ophthalmology/European Society of Ophthalmology joint meeting.

The specialty of ophthalmology is "in the cross hairs of thedemographic transition and the demand for services and the costof care in the United States" occurring as the aging of the largebaby boomer population necessitates increased amounts of clinicalcare. By rising to the challenge, however, the profession canserve as an example to other specialties, said Harvey V.Fineberg, MD, PhD, in his keynote address during the openingsession of the American Academy of Ophthalmology/European Societyof Ophthalmology joint meeting.

Dr. Fineberg, president of the nonprofit Institute of Medicine inWashington, DC, said that the times present a chance forphysicians, individually and collectively, "to take much greaterinitiative. ...by relentlessly focusing on increasing the valueof what we do for patients. . . [and] improving the benefits andthe outcomes and diminishing the costs" associated with healthcare.

Five keys to success in this effort, he said, include:

  • Innovation within a system that has a renewed investmentin research.
  • Attention to organization and an embrace of other eye-careprofessionals in the delivery of care in appropriate ways.
  • Evaluation, exemplified in evidence-based medicine.
  • Much greater emphasis on quality enhancement.
  • A commitment to continuing education.

"I believe that the profession has an opportunity and achallenge. It has an opportunity because if it takes theinitiative to move toward a system of value in health care, wecan dissolve the tired arguments about cost, we can go beyond thelimited aims of more benefits, and we can produce for theAmerican public and, indeed, for citizens of the world, healthcare that is truly what they deserve," Dr. Fineberg said." Ibelieve ophthalmology is powerfully positioned to be the exemplarand leader in the next movement of value for health care."

Related Content:

News