Disruption and change happen on a daily basis. Optometry Australia is working to constantly assess conditions and anticipate emerging trends in order to support members and drive the sector forward.
Optometry Australia is proud to represent almost 85% of all optometrists in Australia, while also recognising that it is a privilege to serve this extraordinary group of people who, in turn, serve the broad Australian community.
Feedback from our surveys suggest that members feel engaged and supported by their Association. We recognise that we must continue to innovate, connect and consult with members in order to create the level of sustainable value and excellent return on the investment they make in being part of the Association.
This plan also aligns with the Optometry 2040 project
Optometry Australia and the five divisional organisations have once again collaborated on a shared Strategic Plan with tangible measures that will drive our high performance for the 2021–2024 period. Importantly, the plan is designed to enable us to pivot as conditions change, just as we did in 2020. This plan also aligns with the Optometry 2040 project which sets out the vision on helping members achieve their preferred future.
Working as a collective and aligning to the Strategic Plan in all states and territories offers the opportunity for synergy and leads to greater impact. This also ensures greater efficiency and the more we can work as one, the more we can ensure that member fees offer exceptional value. We can learn much from the OVIC/SA division and the exceptional value that they have created for their members by combining services, resources and infrastructure.
The disruption of COVID has accelerated our work to maximise the scope of the profession. This includes:
- Driving appropriate eye care pathways in public and private systems to maximise access to community optometry and improved patient care,
- Advancing our efforts to obtain oral prescribing rights for optometrists through the Optometry Board of Australia (OBA) approval,
- Working with a broad range of stakeholders to improve intravitreal injection access including through advocacy for innovative models that extend the role optometrists can play in working collaboratively with ophthalmologists (see page 7 of this issue of mivision),
- Enhancing optometry’s role in glaucoma care by providing tools to support more optometrists in managing stable glaucoma in the community, including through collaborative care arrangements with ophthalmologists,
- Developing a national data set that will provide ‘real time’ information to support advocacy and continual improvement in the profession,
- Ensuring that rapid technology advancements in the form of contact lenses that deliver therapeutics, are supported by a regulatory environment to enable optometrists to participate and build their practice service portfolio, and
- Exploring pathways to support the development and recognition of areas of expertise within optometry.
In addition to the above, Optometry Australia’s Institute of Excellence will continue to innovate by providing cutting edge CPD and tools such as our interactive learning plan.
While we already work internationally through Clinical & Experimental Optometry, Optometry Connection and our Institute of Excellence, we are exploring other opportunities to take our own quality education programs offshore. This will raise the standards and profile of optometry in our region, and in particular the profile of Australian optometry and optometrists, thus supporting our members and the profession.
A key element in ensuring the relevancy of our services and support is recognising the different needs of members throughout their career stages, and so we will enhance our efforts to tailor content and initiatives aimed at different segments of the member base.
With professional indemnity insurance a key part of membership, we will continue to explore innovative enhancements to ensure that our members are covered, not only by the best PII in the market today, but that this cover will meet our sector’s everchanging environment.
Finally, we will continue to encourage consumers to make an appointment with an optometrist through our Good vision for life campaign while also promoting optometry within medical and pharmacy sectors.
We look forward to formally sharing our Shared Strategic Plan 2021–2024 with our members and the greater optometry community and as always, continually pushing ourselves to innovate and evolve to advance our profession.
Lyn Brodie is the National Chief Executive Officer of Optometry Australia.