A diverse group of optometrists from around the country has come together to establish clinical standards and explore future opportunities for optometric care within the EyeQ Optometrists (EyeQ) and National Optical Care (NOC) group.
Spear-headed by Lily Wegrzynowski, the group’s General Manager Eyecare and Professional Services, the eye care advisory committee comprises three optometrists from EyeQ and three from NOC.
EyeQ and NOC joined forces last November, with NOC initially coming onboard as an unbranded franchise. Since then, Ms Wegrzynowski said the relationship has strengthened as the complementary strengths of the respective groups have been realised.
“EyeQ is very strong on clinical care and we have great systems in place for an optometric business including payroll and accounts payable functions. NOC is strong in information technology, business development and marketing. By working closely together, we are all learning and growing,” Ms Wegrzynowski explained.
Ms Wegrzynowski invited optometrists from both groups to submit applications to join the committee.
“It was terrific to see how many people applied – it really demonstrates the level of engagement in the merged organisation and the desire to have a meaningful impact,” she said. “We spent a lot of time going through the applications and selected a committee that is diverse in terms of age, experience, gender and geography (both regional and metro). The optometrists who were not selected for the inaugural committee will be called on to join sub-committees and working groups. The projects we undertake will need the resources and support of this greater group.”
The selected committee members met virtually, for the first time, in August.
Ms Wegrzynowski, a qualified optometrist, said the committee’s first priority is to establish minimum standards of optometric care that can be expected across the group. Within this remit, they will discuss and agree how best to benchmark and measure clinical performance, train to overcome skills gaps and continue to raise the bar so that standards of care grow over time.
“Across this larger group of optometrists, we need to be sure that we are all providing the same high level of care – and that we are consistent in our decision making about patient management. Evaluating equipment and determining what every practice should have is also key to providing this high level of care. So this is about a group coming together to set the standards then engaging with their peers to gain acceptance and compliance.”
In addition to the focus on establishing clinical standards, Ms Wegrzynowski said the committee will consider other opportunities to raise the bar of clinical care.
“It is up to the committee to decide on these – some initiatives will be for immediate implementation, others will be long-term projects – opportunities to bring some innovative and cutting edge technologies and processes to optometry.
“What I’m really excited about is that we are going to see action. This is a committee that is strong on big ideas, they will discuss and debate but not procrastinate, they’re action-oriented.”
SHARING EXPERTISE AND EXPERIENCE
Katherine Gouliaev is another member of the committee. Having enjoyed a diverse career in eye care that has involved practising in the community, with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, in refractive surgery, on the ACT Optometry Board and teaching Hanoi Medical University’s first group of optometrists, Ms Gouliaev brings a wealth of experience to the committee.
“I was keen to join the committee because it would allow me to make a contribution to the practice of optometry, not just in our office, but across the profession and across a wider group of optometrists,” she said.
With a commitment to maintaining a high level of professionalism within optometry she added, “I will share my experiences to influence good optometry practice – both professionally and in business development – and to keep us all enthusiastic about premium eye care for all”.