The Practicality of the Medical Model

By: Jason R. Miller, OD, MBA

The medical model…the medical model…the medical model is a term that is frequently used within optometry and the question is why?  Why do we as practitioners need to be involved and what impact does it have on our practice?  Traditionally, optometry is known as the primary eye care provider who provides not only vision care, but medical eye care as well.  We are all highly trained in the diagnosis and management of ocular disease, yet only 17% of practice revenue is derived from medical eye care.1  The question is why is this number so low?  The medical model can have a positive impact on our patients and our practice.

For Survival

There are numerous threats to our profession that will have an impact on our practice survival.  Online retailers (both glasses and contact lenses) will continue to offer affordable options to our patients.   We know that many patients who make purchases online are less frequently coming into our practices for their routine care.  Insurance plans, both vision and medical, will continue to find ways to attract their customer base while providing less reimbursement for our services.  Get involved and support your local, state and national associations either physically or financially.  These are the groups that help fight and secure your ability to practice medical optometry.

You are the Expert!

We are the experts and it’s important to establish that perspective of ourselves in such a manner.  Although we all have different comfort levels in ocular disease management, there are numerous educational resources available to help us along including continuing education and webinars.  In those cases outside of our comfort level, we have colleagues that we can refer to for secondary and tertiary referral.  Nonetheless, the majority of ocular disease can be managed within any optometric practice.  Our role is to educate our patients on what we do and our role within medical eye care.

Technology Integration

Although advanced technology isn’t necessary for all ocular disease cases, evaluate your current patient base to see what types of patients are already within your practice.  For complex diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, state-of-the-art technology will be a must.  There are numerous technologies that we all have on our “practice wish list” however we know that the decision needs to make economic sense before any purchase.  Determining what percentage of your patients comes to your practice for medical eye care is important.  Utilize your EMR system to data mine common diagnoses or patient segments that may benefit from specific services.  One example would be determining whether or not to purchase a fundus camera.  The first step would be to look at the number of patients within your practice who have diabetes or glaucoma.  Next, evaluate the current trends and prevalence of the various disease states to see how you compare.  Is your practice prevalence pattern higher or lower than these averages?  If it’s lower, there may be numerous patients that may have been potentially overlooked in the past or just wasn’t followed since the technology wasn’t available.  Lastly, perform a breakeven analysis (projected gross income minus projected annual expense) to see how long it will take for you to pay off the technology.  If it all adds up, then purchase the equipment.  If not, there are other ways to provide these services such as co-ownership of technologies where the cost is shared or comanaging with our optometric colleagues for special testing services only.

Write the Rx

One last note on developing yourself as an expert in medical eye care is practice of prescribing versus sampling.  Although samples are available for us to offer our patients, we must use them wisely.  In our practices, we use samples for our patients who may not be able to afford them or to determine efficacy for chronic conditions such as glaucoma.  By having patients purchase their medications, they will have to take ownership in their condition which will also help with patient compliance.  Since they have made in investment in their care, they will understand the value in their treatment and more likely follow the prescribe regimen.

In Conclusion

From the initial phone call to schedule an appointment to the examination to the checkout process, everything that we say, do and not do (non-verbal communication) contributes to the overall patient experience.  Technology is constantly changing the way that we practice optometry and contributes to the “WOW Experience”.   Whatever your passion is in medical eye care from ocular surface disease to glaucoma to retina, there are numerous technologies that have impacted the way that we care for our patients today.  Each time we perform testing, we need to maximize the opportunity to discuss the reason for doing each test. Invest in adopting the medical model and the practice will win.


  1. Management and Business Academy. Key Metrics: Assessing Optometric Practice Performance.  2013.  Accessed from on March 23, 2014.

Top Five Reasons Why the 2014 EastWest Eye Conference is a “Must Go!” Event

dr tom quinn 2By Dr. Tom Quinn, Conference Chairman

5 – Exhibitors in the Vendor Showcase that will save you money, potentially much, much more than the cost of EastWest fees: Come prepared to competitively shop your materials, prices, cost of doing business such as insurance and much more.

4 – Are you ready with your Electronic Health Records? CliniSync by Ohio Health information Partnership (OHIP) is making its services available at no charge or reduced cost to ODs just like they have with family medicine. Learn more and save as you connect your HER with other health care professionals.

3- World-class Continuing Education for the Entire Office Team: Over 250 hours of practical problem-solving CE, featuring the likes of Melton and Thomas, Onofrey, Fingeret, McGreal, Sherman, Thimons, Bloomenstein, Marrelli, Gary Gerber, and many more. Bring your entire office team with you. There’s something for everyone!

2 – Networking opportunities: these only occur once each year in Ohio with OOA leadership and staff, vendors, classmates.

1 – Team building: Significant opportunities to team build. The staff that plays together stays together. See you at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame party Friday night.

We want to see you October 9-11, 2014, at the Cleveland Convention Center!

Go to the conference website at for more information and to register. Be sure to watch my welcome video while you’re there!


May 7th Practice Management Institute Features Two Tracks

IMG_7958-2The annual OOA Practice Management Institute (PMI) – an excellent team-building event for doctors and staff – is May 7 at the Columbus State University Conference Center. This year’s PMI features four excellent speakers in two tracks:

Track 1
Practice management expert Laurie Guest will lead the workshop on the “Evolution of the Patient Experience.” In the morning session, Laurie will focus on the “Guest Encounter Audit,” which teaches participants to assess how their office processes patient inquiries to help eliminate bad practices. The afternoon session covers the “R-Formula Recipe” to attract and keep new patients. Laurie will also talk about the internal preparation for the impact of the affordable care act. This includes lean processing and improved communication between the doctor’s office and others.

Track 2
This track will cover several timely topics related to health care reform. In the morning session, Dr. Jay Henry, a nationally recognized speaker on electronic health records, will present on “Meaningful Use Stage 2.” Meaningful Use has changed the way ODs practice and how they will interact in the health care system of the future. Dr. Henry’s presentation will cover the requirements, clinical implications, exemptions, compliance and how to navigate Stage 2.

The afternoon session will start with Dr. Jason Miller, OOA Secretary/Treasurer, who will discuss the latest information and what doctors and staff need to know about ICD-10. Dr. Terri Gossard, OOA President-elect, will then share the most current updates on important legislation being debated in the Ohio Statehouse that could affect optometrists.

Registration, which includes a continental breakfast plus lunch, is $149 per doctor or for the first staff member if attending alone. Each additional staff member is $69. Fourth-year optometry students can attend PMI at no charge but must register.

Exhibitors will be available throughout the day, and include*:
Alcon Laboratories
Diversified Opthalmics
Essilor Labs
*As of March 12

You can register online at or download the registration form here. Registration deadline is April 25.

Practice Management Institute
May 7, 2014
Columbus State University Conference Center
315 Cleveland Avenue
Columbus, OH 43215

Registration: 8:30 a.m.
Morning Session: 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Lunch and Exhibitors: 11:30 a.m.
Afternoon Session: 1:30-3:30 p.m.

School Nurse Symposium November 18

Do you know a school nurse that would be interested in attending the OOA School Nurse Symposium? November 18, 9:00 AM – 1:45 PM at the Northeast Conference Center in Westerville, OH. Free CE! Lunch included! Visit to register.

Quotes from school nurses about previous School Nurse Symposia:

“I’ve been a school nurse for over20 years. This was the most informative vision workshop I have ever attended.”


“No matter how often I attend, I always learn new things. These session improve my efficiency.”


“Excellent presentations! I especially liked having an OD at our table to respond to our questions and I loved the eye emergency portion.”


Thank You from EastWest Chair Dr. Tom Quinn

There are few things more satisfying in life than working toward a common goal with like-minded individuals and seeing it through to a successful conclusion.

The 2013 EastWest Eye Conference, with its top-line educational programming and fresh new venue, established a new standard in quality continuing education. And it was fun!

Thank you to everyone who made it possible. Thank you to the diverse and gifted educators who spoke at our conference. Thank you to our impressively supportive exhibitors and sponsors. Thank you to the enthusiastic and dedicated individuals who serve on the EastWest Eye Conference Committee, including the dedicated and unflappable staff of the Ohio Optometric Association. Thank you to the entertainers who made the Friday Night Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Party a rockin’ hoot.

Most of all, thank you to our enthusiastic conference attendees. Your faith in us motivates us to continually raise the bar on the learning, and the fun, offered at the EastWest Eye Conference.

I’ll let you all in on a little secret. Plans are already underway to create an even more memorable 2014 conference. Don’t miss it. See you in Cleveland October 9-12, 2014!

With sincere appreciation,


Thomas G. Quinn, OD, MS


EastWest: By Optometry. For Optometry.

2013 President’s Night – Mark Your Calendars!

2013 President’s Night will offer one hour CE on Practical Applications for ACA, HIPAA, ACOs and other health care changes. Rick Cornett will review ACA, HIPAA, ACOs, Essential Benefit, Inter-professional communications, as well as other patient centered innovative opportunities. Welcome incoming OOA President, Dr. Lee Favede.

Zone 1

Monday, September 16 @ 5:30PM

224 Varsity Club – 3598 Bullhead Rd. – Willard, OH 44890

RSVP: Dr. Jon Cooperrider –

Zone 2

Wednesday, October 23 @ 6:00PM

Ristorante Chinato – 2079 E. 4th St. – Cleveland, OH 44115

RSVP: Dr. Troy Bornhorst –

Zone 3

Wednesday, September 18 @ 6:15PM

Ken Stewart’s Grille – 1970 W. Market St. – Akron, OH 44313

RSVP: Dr. Jessica Simon –

Zone 4

Thursday, September 12 @ 6:30PM

Michael Alberini’s – 1140 Boardman Poland Rd. – Youngstown, OH 44514

RSVP: Dr. James Kover –

Zone 5

Tuesday, September 17 @ 6:30PM

Theo’s Restaurant – 632 Wheeling Ave. – Cambridge, OH 43725

RSVP: Dr. Charles Fornara –

Zone 6

Tuesday, October 15 @ 6:30PM

Athens Country Club – 7606 Country Club Rd. – Athens, OH 45701

RSVP: Dr. Shane Foster –

Zone 7

Tuesday, September 24 @ 6:30PM

The Emmitt House – 123 N. Market St. – Waverly, OH 45690

RSVP: Dr. Allison Hoffman –

Zone 8

Thursday, October 24 @ 6:30PM

Buca di Beppo Rockwood Commons – 2635 Edmondson Rd. – Cincinnati, OH 45209

RSVP: Dr. Sarah Lopper –

Zone 9

Thursday, September 26 @ 6:00PM

El Meson – 903 E. Dixie Dr. – Dayton, OH 45449

RSVP: Dr. Ross Collins –

Zone 10

Tuesday, October 22 @ 6:00PM

Old Barn Out Back – 3175 W. Elm St. – Lima, OH 45805

RSVP: Dr. Chad Otte –

Zone 11

Wednesday, October 16 @ 6:00PM

Rockwell’s at the Oliver House – 27 Broadway – Toledo, OH 43604

RSVP: Dr. Bill Kegerize –

Zone 12

Thursday, September 19 @ 6:00PM

The Worthington Inn – 649 High St. – Worthington, OH 43085

RSVP: Dr. Travis Zigler –

EastWest 2013: Workshops, Cleveland Live!

OD Workshops*


*workshop attendance is limited, register early to reserve your space

Allied Eye Professionals – Cleveland Live!

Ever wonder what the best way to describe insurance benefits to a patient is or the best way to present anti-reflective coating? What about the best way to build and maintain a cohesive team? This will be an interactive panel of experts that will address critical areas that contribute to the patient experience.


Follow EastWest on Twitter @EastWestConf

Like Ohio Optometric Association on Facebook

Top 10 Reasons to Attend EastWest Eye Conference

EW Logo2010

Top 10 Reasons to Attend EastWest Eye Conference

October 3-6, 2013 – Downtown Cleveland, Ohio

1. Support Optometry: all proceeds go back to the profession

2. Hear the nation’s top optometry speakers

3. Attend OD Tracks including Disease, Glaucoma, Contact Lenses, Neuro-optometric Rehabilitation, Low Vision, Binocular/Pediatrics, Vision Therapy and more

4. Party the night away at the Friday night event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

5. Meet industry experts and optometry’s friends in the Exhibit Hall

6. Network with colleagues

7. Experience the newly constructed state-of-the-art facility on the shores of Lake Erie

8. Join in the fun at sponsored breakfast and lunch events

9. Bring your entire office to attend courses for Allied Eye Professionals with ABO, NCLE, JCAHPO, CPC approval

10. Celebrate with Ohio Optometric Association at their annual meeting

Register Now!

2013 EastWest Education is Set


The speakers for the 2013 EastWest Eye Conference have been announced.

EastWest has an incredible faculty for OD education,” said Dr. Brian Mathie, chair of EastWest education. “Speakers include Dr. Larry Alexander, Dr. Jill Autry, Dr. Charles Brownlow, Dr. Paul Karpecki, Dr. John McGreal, Dr. Bruce Onofrey, Dr. Carlo Pelino, Dr. Joe Pizzimenti, Dr. Sherrol Reynolds, Dr. Stuart Richer, and Dr. Jim Thimons.“

The Neuro-optometric Rehabilitation speakers are Dr. Stan Appelbaum, Dr. Brandon Begotka, Dr. Rob Fox, Dr. Kellye Knueppel, Dr. John Pulaski, and Dr. Maximillian Riesenhuber.

Faculty for the Allied Eye Professional education include Lynn Lawrence, Jackie O’Keefe, Mary Schmidt, Phernell Walker and Dr. Mark Yoder.

EastWest Eye Conference – October 3-6, 2013 – Cleveland, Ohio

Brownlow Compliance Workshop in Ohio

Brownlow Compliance Workshop in Ohio

Dr. Chuck Brownlow presented his Medical Records Compliance Workshop For Paper or Electronic Records in Columbus on February 6 to 50 ODs and staff. The workshop educated attendees on Medicare and other payer audits, the role of medical records in patient care, choosing visit and procedure codes, and creating a compliance manual for the office. Included was a complete review of five charts per doctor with a full report with grades, recommendations and suggested improvements.

Because of the intensity of the topic, attendance is limited to 50. Doctors are encouraged to attend with their billing staff person.

The workshop will be offered again in Ohio at Practice Management Institute on May 1 in Columbus and at the EastWest Eye Conference in October.

More info can be found here. Register online here. Download printable registration here.