Article Date: 4/1/2011

Practice pulse TIPS, TRENDS & NEWS YOU CAN USE

INAUGURAL BOARD CERTIFICATION EXAM OFFERED INTERNATIONALLY

ABO Exam Registration Process Officially Opened

■ The American Board of Optometry (ABO) has officially opened registration for the first board certification exam, scheduled at more than 400 Prometric Test Centers in the United States and other countries, June 1-18.

“We expect the statistical analysis of this criterion-referenced examination to be completed by early August,” says David A. Cockrell, O.D., ABO chairman.

Active Candidates who've completed all 150 points of the postgraduate requirements to take the exam can register for it through their MyABO portal on the ABO website (www.abopt.org). (You can apply for Active Candidacy via the website as well.) Active Candidates who want to take the June exam, but have not yet met the post-graduate requirements must do so no later than May 15. The next exam will occur in December—likely the first two weeks, says Jeffrey L. Weaver, O.D., ABO's executive director. The exam registration fee is $1,250 for 2011 and will be $1,500 in 2012. Once registered, you can reserve a seat at the Prometric Test Center you choose. (Prometric, a testing and assessment services company, has partnered with the ABO to develop and deliver the exam.)

The inaugural exam, which is expected to be offered bi-annually, is broken into three sections: General Practice (160 multiple choice questions, of which four hours are designated); and, after a break, two 40-question Areas of Emphasis (of your choosing, and one hour is designated per test).

THE REPORT INVOLVED MORE THAN 50 RESEARCHERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

New IOVS Paper Redefines Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

■ How do you arrive at a worldwide consensus on the definition, classification, diagnosis and treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)? The answer: By bringing together more than 50 leading clinical and research experts from around the world in a workshop that lasts more than two years.

The MGD Workshop, sponsored by the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS), was conducted to provide an evidence-based evaluation of meibomian gland structure and function in health and disease. The TFOS reported the workshop's conclusions and recommendations, which were published by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (www.arvo.org) and in a special March/April 2011 issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS). A link on the TFOS website, www.TearFilm.org, will direct you to a downloadable version of the document.

“This report will have a significant impact on the diagnosis and treatment of lid disease and evaporative dry eye,” says Kelly Nichols, O.D., M.P.H., Ph.D, associate professor at the Ohio State University College of Optometry, in Columbus, Ohio, and chair of the MGD Workshop Steering Committee. “It's intended to be a stimulus for future MGD research that will benefit the clinical care of patients.”

Dr. Nichols will provide additional commentary on the report next month in Optometric Management's “Dry Eye” column. The May issue will also include a two-page perforated pull-out summary of the full report, compliments of TFOS. The summary will include:

► a definition and classification scheme for MGD.
► an evidence-based diagnosis and management algorithm.
► a current schematic of the etiology and associated pathophysiology of MGD.
► 3 a review of the prevalence and associated risk factors for MGD.

“This TFOS Workshop developed a contemporary understanding of the definition and classification of MGD,” says Gary N. Foulks, M.D., F.A.C.S., professor of ophthalmology at the University of Louisville, in Louisville, Ky. and vice-chair of the MGD Workshop Steering Committee.

“MGD may well be the leading cause of dry eye disease throughout the world,” explains David A. Sullivan, Ph.D., TFOS president and senior scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute/Harvard Medical School, in Boston, and MGD Workshop organizer. “Although this condition influences the health and well-being of millions of people, there has not previously been a global consensus on the definition, classification, diagnosis or therapy of MGD.”

The researchers noted that to date, the evidence on MGD management is somewhat limited. Also, they say the existing studies are often relatively small and are neither randomized nor placebo-controlled, and most management and therapeutic techniques are off-label. Thus, the report's recommendations likely will continue to undergo evaluation in both clinical practice and clinical research.

TFOS received funds to support the MGD Workshop from Laboratoires Théa, Pfizer, Inspire pharmaceuticals, Bausch + Lomb, TRB Chemedica, Santen Pharmaceutical, Allergan, Alcon, Johnson & Johnson, Advanced Vision Research, Senju Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, CIBA Vision and SOOFT Italia.

“…No individual product is endorsed [in the report],” says Dr. Nichols. “Moreover, all Workshop members were required to provide financial disclosure in accordance with TFOS and ARVO guidelines.”

BUILDING WILL INCLUDE RESEARCH LABS, CLINIC AND DISPENSARY

MCO Announces Grand Opening of Optometry Building

■ The Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University has revealed its new optometry building (see photo), which will officially be celebrated at a grand opening ceremony in June. The new building houses a teaching auditorium, research laboratories, a ground-floor eye and visioncare clinic and an optical dispensary, among other attributes, says Ferris State University's communication specialist Anne Hogenson.

“[The new building] will help prepare our graduates to be healthcare leaders,” says Ferris State University President David L. Eisler.

RECRUITING SOFTWARE FOR THE EYE CARE INDUSTRY

A Scientific Approach to “Optimize” the Hiring Process

Lou Mancinelli contributing editor

■ How do organizations such as GE, Microsoft Corporation, PepsiCo, Gallup, and the U.S. Army screen potential candidates for the qualities that lead to superior performance? Each uses scientific testing, says Adam Grant, Ph.D., an associate professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.

This scientific approach is being used at Optimize, a new North Carolina-based company that has teamed with Dr. Grant to launch recruiting software tailored to fit the needs of the eyecare industry. The software aims to avoid the pitfalls of the traditional approach to recruiting:

“Standard interviewing predicts only 14.4% of future performance, compared to over 60% when using scientific testing,” says Dane Barnes, co-founder of Optimize and former business analyst at Eye Care Associates (ECA), a practice based in Raleigh, N.C.

The problem with the standard interview process is that “a lot of interviewees are good at faking,” says Mr. Barnes. “Research also shows that interviewers instinctively hire people like themselves,” so an interviewer might hire, for example, someone who likes the same sports team as opposed to a more qualified candidate, he says.

Scientific testing removes subjective variables by using criteria, such as cognitive ability, motivation, personality and situational judgment. The software is based on the principles of industrial-organizational psychology—in this case, to identify the characteristics that impact job performance, Dr. Grant explains.

The test does not remove interviewing or the employer's intuition from the hiring process, however. “Think of it like meteorology,” says Dr. Grant. “It's complex, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't use the scientific method to see if we can improve predictions. It's much better than a random guess.” He adds, “The goal is to increase the chance the people you hire tend to be good problem-solvers, highly motivated, a strong fit for the job and effective in dealing with people and unpredictable situations.”

Quantifying results

Dr. Grant and Mr. Barnes developed the test by screening employees at hundreds of eye care offices and linking the employees' results to their job performance, Mr. Barnes explains. The results? Employees who scored high on the tests generated, on average, $102,000 more revenue per year than those who scored low.

The company conducted the validation study at several practices, including Rosin Eyecare, a 16-location practice located in the Chicago area.

“It used to be you could hire someone with decent technical/optical skills and a little customer service training,” says James Rosin, owner of Rosin Eyecare. “But today you're dealing with so many third-party plans—there could be hundreds of pricing scenarios. And instead of one level of anti-reflective coating, there are five or six. As a result, there is more turnover because the job is more complex.”

Turnover adds to the practice's costs. “If we can wean out candidates, it can save us hundreds of hours spent training,” says Mr. Rosin.

Testing by position

The company tailored its tests to assess potential candidates at five practice positions: front desk, technician, optician, office manager and optometrist.

“Say you are evaluating an optician who will be presenting lenses or frames to customers,” says Mr. Barnes. “Is she able to tailor her pitch to their budget and taste? Is she motivated to provide outstanding service and build a long-term relationship? Our tests provide data on how each applicant scores on these and other attributes that are important for performance.”

The software also automates the application process. Applicants take the test online via a link through an employment website such as Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com. Employers can then view test results through Optimize's website.

The software costs $1,400 a year per office location. Discounts are available for multi-site practices and through select vendor partnerships. For more information, call Optimize at (800) 330-2020, or visit www.optimizehire.com.

Correction
In March's issue (“Maximize Your Optical's Profitability”), we inadvertently neglected to give credit to Dave Zeigler, O.D., F.A.A.O., of Visionary Resources (www.visionaryresources.com), for designing the lens menu used as a sidebar in the article. We apologize for the oversight.

FDA News
■ Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has submitted a Biologics License Application to the FDA for its VEGF-Trap-Eye intravitreal injection for the treatment of wet AMD. The medication is a fusion protein consisting of portions of human VEGF receptors 1 and 2 extracellular domains fused to the Fc portion of human IgG1 that binds all forms of VEGF-A, along with the related Placental Growth Factor (PlGF).
■ The nonmyd WX3D nonmydriatic 3D retinal camera, from Kowa Optimed, has received 501(k) approval from the FDA to be marketed for simultaneous stereoscopic retinal photography.

O.D. NOTEBOOK
CooperVision has unveiled a new watermark logo to “represent a blend of scientific precision with the vibrancy found in everyday experiences.” The new branding will debut in a campaign for the company's Biofinity product line, and will roll out across all of CooperVision's online properties and product packaging through the next few months.
□ On the topic of rebranding, Eyefinity/OfficeMate, a VSP Global company, announced it has rebranded as Eyefinity. The Eyefinity brands include OfficeMate and ExamWRITER EMR, e-business solutions, eBuy, eClaim, eLab, Business Essentials, Business Pro, eWebExtra, and AcuityLogic, a practice management/point-of-sale solution, which Eyefinity acquired in 2010.
□ In other name changing news, Gerber Coburn has announced it is now Coburn Technologies, a provider of computer-integrated ophthalmic lens processing systems.
ACUVUE ADVANCE Plus Brand Contact Lenses received the Seal of Acceptance for Ultraviolet Absorbing Contact Lenses from the AOA Commission on Ophthalmic Standards.
□ In other company news, Vistakon has named W. Lee Ball, O.D., F.A.A.O., associate director and Janelle Routhier, O.D., F.A.A.O., manager, Medical Affairs. Dr. Ball will be responsible for providing strategic direction for Medical Affairs, and Dr. Routhier will be responsible for clinical and technical aspects of Acuvue brand contact lenses.
Heidelberg Engineering has moved its corporate U.S. headquarters to the Carlsbad Research Center in Carlsbad, Calif. The company attributes this move to the success of its Spectralis SD-OCT.
ScienceBased Health (SBH) and HOYA Surgical Optics, Inc. (HSO), have formed a partnership in which HSO will be a sales agent for the SBH line of nutraceuticals in the ophthalmic market.
□ The EyeXam iPhone app, from Global EyeVentures, LLC, has exceeded one million downloads and is now available for the iPad. Eye-Xam features a self-guided method for assessing one's own visual acuity, color vision plates, an Amsler grid and information regarding eye care products.
The Vision Care Institute, LLC has launched a one-day free course at its headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla., that provides O.D.s with an update on the latest in contact lens research, training on new technologies and a review of emerging trends and best practices. Course dates: May 12-13, May 19-20, June 2-3, June 9-10, and September 22-23. Contact your Vistakon sales representative, or e-mail theinstitute@vcius.jnj.com.
MediNiche is offering eyecare practitioners (ECPs) a complete introductory kit for OcuDerma ocular skin therapy gel. For the price of shipping, ECPs will receive promotional materials including samples, a counter display and coupons. For more information, e-mail the company at ocuderma@mediniche.com, or call (888) 325-2395.
□ The American Optometric Association (AOA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with 3D@Home Consortium, stating their intent to share data regarding 3D/S3D and jointly promote vision health using stereoscopic 3D displays. 3D@Home Consortium is a group of more than 45 companies invested in 3D technology. (Visit www.3dathome.org.)
Alan Glazier, O.D. has published the book Searchial Marketing: How Social Media Drives Search Optimization in Web 3.0, which teaches do-it-yourself methods of implementing a “searchial” campaign. Searchial refers to interacting in social media while elevating your profile in Internet searches. For information, visit www.authorhouse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000422789
□ Here's the language (and price) one Connecticut ophthalmology practice is using to market its LASIK services through web-based discount service Groupon: “Medusa's gaze could turn men to stone, but with the proper eye surgery she could've turned them into something more practical, such as gasoline or pizza bagels. Bring priorities into focus with today's Groupon: for $2,020, you get full LASIK surgery on both eyes, including the initial consultation, surgery, pre-surgery massage, and post-op visits for six months (a $6,100 value).”


Optometric Management, Issue: April 2011