As ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations) and PCMHs (Patient Centered Medical Homes) grow in every state they are looking for teams of doctors to contain healthcare costs and provide Affordable Care to patients. Cost containment looks more and more about keeping patients out of the hospital!
There are two immediately apparent ways to do this. One, which is an optometric opportunity, is to keep the patient healthy by early diagnosis, monitoring and preventive care and the second is by triage that keeps the patient out of the hospital (which like owning a boat can be an endless money pit). Optometry can play a major role by diagnosing and monitoring systemic disease like, retinopathy that leads to blindness from, hypertension, arteriosclerosis and diabetes. Optometry can also become an arm of a Pre-ER triage system for those not needing surgical eye care. It is reported that a PCP receiving good reporting from a vision care specialist, can cut $6,000 / patient / year from medical expenses. Not to mention the much greater costs of subsequent strokes, heart attacks and disability!
This this NBC video below, briefly points out another opportunity which can monetarily motivate the patient. This is something I believe has died in the current medical paradigm that diagnoses every failure of patient responsibility as a disease to be overcome with surgery or a pill. Here is how patients acquire financial risk in entering a hospital! It is both a warning to patients and suggestive of a possible need and opportunity to patients and doctors, outside the hospital, to get more involved in their own responsibility for keeping costs down. Note some interesting references to the value of vision screening below the video!
- Evaluation of the expanding access to diabetic retinopathy screening
- Tobacco cessation and smoking’s impact on health care
- Preventive Eye Care in People With Diabetes Is Cost-Saving to the Federal Government