Article Date: 6/1/2007

Travel: Is There a Better Way?
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FROM THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR Jim Thomas

Travel: Is There a Better Way?

Delayed flights, scary cab drivers and lost suitcases. Let the games begin.

Anyone who travels has stories. Some are of remarkable endurance and sacrifice: "We were stuck on the tarmac for six hours. It was 95° and there was no air conditioning. We couldn't use the lavatories. People fainted. And did I mention they were out of honey roasted peanuts?"

There's the sobering account of the traveler who locks himself out of his hotel room while the only garment he wears, a robe, is stuck in his room's door. (Does he wait for help or abandon the robe and streak to a phone?)

Let's not forget airport security lines, lost luggage and miscommunications with cabbies ("You said tapas bar? Well, tapas sounds a lot like topless, doesn't it?")

Of course, one of the corollaries to Murphy's Law is that emergencies involving staff, patients and family increase exponentially when you travel.

All of which beg the management question: Do we need to travel?

See you at the keyboard?

Even the most manic business traveler admits to an indeterminable amount of time and money wasted while traveling. Why not just use cell phones, Blackberries, PDAs and computers? We can receive the heftiest Power Point file by e-mail and spare ourselves the embarrassment of dozing off in front of hundreds of live colleagues. Major deals can be struck over electronic highways. For example, I just text-messaged my son to remind him to cut the grass before I get home.

The professional route

Personally, I could live without travel. Professionally, travel might be more of a necessity than ever.

With information and technology in optometry changing at a blistering pace, travel allows me to visit an expert who can effortlessly translate a deluge of information into a bottomline summary. If this expert happens to be at a meeting, then we become part of a community. It's hard to duplicate this camaraderie. Hundreds of people can share their knowledge and passions in a few short hours. And more in-depth conversations and negotiations continue over coffee. You can't do that in e-mails, although I'm sure they're already working on the "electronic handshake" and "virtual Starbucks."

Teleconferences and online education are powerful technologies. But they are just two of the many resources available. They don't necessarily replace travel.

So what do you do with all the travel horror stories? Send us your favorites. We'll publish the best of them, which you can read the very next time your flight is delayed. OM

OPTOMATRIC MANAGEMENT
www.optometric.com
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jim Thomas
MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Boyles
SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR Jennifer Kirby
SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Virginia Pickles
SENIOR EDITOR Judith Springer Riddle
SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR Angela Jackson
OPTOMETRY CHIEF OPTOMETRIC EDITOR Walter D. West, O.D., F.A.A.O.
CLINICAL DIRECTOR James Thimons, O.D., F.A.A.O.
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
EDITOR Richard S. Kattouf, O.D., D.O.S.
CONSULTING EDITOR Jack Runninger, O.D., F.A.A.O.
PHARMACEUTICAL EDITOR Bobby Christensen, O.D.,
F.A.A.O.
CE COORDINATOR Neil A. Pence, O.D., F.A.A.O.
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Marilee Blackwell, M.B.A., Gary
Gerber, O.D., Jerry Hayes, O.D., Richard Hom, O.D., F.A.A.O.,
Sheldon Kreda, O.D., F.A.A.O., Bob Levoy, O.D., Gregg Ossip, O.D.,
Jay D. Petersma, O.D., Eric Schmidt, O.D., Jerry Sherman, O.D.,
Donna Suter, Gil Weber, M.B.A.
EDITORIAL BOARD
Edward S. Bennett, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O
Irving Bennett, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Ernest Bowling, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Norma Bowyer, O.D., M.P.H., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Katherine Bumgarner, M.B.A.
Charlotte Burns, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Shelley Cutler, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Robert L. Davis, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Eric D. Donnenfeld, M.D.
Elmer Eger, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Neil B. Gailmard, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O.
Alan Glazier, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Deepak Gupta, O.D.
Andrew Gurwood, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Terry Hawks, O.D.
Janice M. Jurkus, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O.
Paul Karpecki, O.D.
Kelly Kerksick, O.D.
John Lahr, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Bob Levoy, O.D.
R. Whitman Lord, O.D.
Carla Mack, O.D.
Dominick Maino, O.D., M.Ed., F.A.A.O.
Pamela Miller, O.D., J.D., F.A.A.O.
Gary Oliver, O.D.
Robert E. Prouty, O.D.
Frank Puzio, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Rhonda Robinson, O.D.
Bruce Rosenthal, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Julie Ryan, O.D., M.S.Ed., F.A.A.O.
David B. Seibel, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Leo Semes, O.D.
Donald R. Smith, O.D.
Rene Soltis
Gale Stoner
Loretta Szczotka, O.D., M.S.

The opinions expressed in Optometric Management are those of its contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Optometric Management staff or its publisher, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins VisionCare Group.

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Optometric Management, Issue: June 2007