Featured Practice: Bennett Ophthalmology Group– Improving Care by Measuring Outcomes

This week, we’re looking at Bennett Ophthalmology Group, located in Columbus, Mississippi, who specialize in diagnosing and treating eye disorders. With over twenty-five years of experience, they are proven their commitment to providing quality patient-centered care using the most up-to-date technology.

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States, with more than 3 million procedures per year. According to reporting from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 20.5 million (17.2%) Americans aged 40 years and older have cataract in one or both eyes, and 6.1 million (5.1%) have have undergone lens removal surgery. The total number of people who have cataracts is estimated to increase to 30.1 million by 2020.

Most cataracts are due to natural aging processes, and cataract surgery can greatly improve an individual’s sight and quality of life. However, certain conditions, such as age-related oracular degeneration, have been identified as a risk factor for poor visual outcomes after surgery. Prior to participation in TCPi, Bennett Ophthalmology were not measuring cataract surgery outcomes.

Once they started collecting and analyzing data, they quickly realized that they were only documenting post-surgery visual acuity for 71.1% of patients. In response, they adopted guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which provides protocols for documenting pre- and post-surgery vision status. These evidence-based guidelines were integrated in their electronic medical records (EMRs), allowing them to more readily identify patients who do not obtain at least 20/40 vision acuity within 90 days after surgery. Patients who have not demonstrated this level of recovery are then prioritized for further follow up.

Bennett’s visual acuity was 71.1% at baseline Q1 2017, but after adopting these new guidelines, enhancing their record keeping, and following up with patients who needed more care, they reached 94.3% visual acuity in Q2 2018, a 23.2% increase. This exceeds the national benchmark of 88%.

Implementing care transition protocols may seem overwhelming, especially in large healthcare systems. However, Bennett Ophthalmology Group boldly demonstrates how practices of any size are capable of enacting quality and process improvement techniques to assist in care transitions.

The views expressed in this story are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of Bennett Ophthalmology Group. Additionally, this work was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, under grant number 1CMS331549-03-00. The contents provided are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS or any of its agencies.

 


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