Ophthalmology and Vision Research Center: Ophthalmic Vision Research Centers are now more efficient than ever before
By Kim Zetterberg – IGN News & Technology CorrespondentIt’s not every day that a doctor’s office gets a new patient, but in the early stages of the disease, patients tend to be referred to a doctor from the Ophthalmological Research Center (ORC), a new center in Houston, Texas.
“We’re hoping to change that,” says Dr. Scott Mancuso, director of the ORC.
“We want to be the place where you’re referred to in the ORCs first visits.
This is a great opportunity to build on that.”
The ORC is not new, nor is it new for the Ocular Institute, an ORC in New York City that specializes in ophthalmic research.
In fact, it’s been around for more than 20 years.
But in recent years, it has seen dramatic growth in both the number and size of patients it sees.
And it has expanded to more than 50 clinics in more than a dozen states, including California.
In 2018, the ORCA saw the largest annual growth in its patient count, with a total of 1,788,918 patients, or about 30 percent of the population of New York State.
For the first time, more patients were referred to the ORs offices from the clinics than in any year in the past five years.
The ORCs new goal is to provide more than 30 percent more of its total patients by 2020.
This year, the agency expects to have an additional 2,500 patients in the clinic by the end of 2020.
The expansion has not been without controversy, however.
While many have welcomed the growth of the clinic, others have criticized it for not providing more specialized care.
A recent editorial in the New York Times described the expansion as “a double-edged sword,” noting that many patients will likely see fewer specialists if the OR centers are more concentrated.
“It’s going to take some time to build trust in the centers,” says Manciso.
“But we’re confident that they can provide the best care.”
As the number of new patients in Ocular Imaging Research Centers grows, so too do the clinics.
The first two centers opened last year, and Manci said that number will likely grow as the clinics expand.
“It’s just a matter of time,” he says.
“The ORCA is a huge success story, but it’s only part of what we’re doing,” says David E. Fenton, CEO of ORCA.
“The next big thing for us is the OVRC.”
Fenton is also CEO of the OVEI, an organization that will oversee the clinic expansion and the development of a network of facilities that will house OVREC patients.
While the ORACs new expansion will require additional funding, the OveIs goal is the creation of an international network of ORC clinics in the United States.
In addition to the clinic growth, the new expansion has been welcomed by several prominent ophthalmologists.
The American Academy of Ophthalmolgy (AAO), which represents the American Association of Ocular Surgeons (AASO), announced the OVC program in September.
“OVRC is an innovative way to provide ophthalms with an opportunity to work collaboratively in a collaborative manner, to learn from each other and to build new knowledge in a patient-centered environment,” AAO wrote.
The OVEIs new initiative has also been praised by other leading medical associations.
The OVEs board of directors includes OVEC chairman Dr. Paul G. Filippi, who is also president of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons, which oversees more than 2,300 of the world’s leading medical societies.
The AOA is also supportive of the development.
“As OVLCs new facilities expand, so do the opportunities for research,” the association said in a statement.
“These centers will be essential to our ability to improve ophthalmia research and provide quality care for our patients.”
The growth of ORCs clinics is not just good for the ophthalmoscope industry, though.
It’s also good for health care providers in other fields.
“With more access to care, it also means better quality of care,” says G. Thomas Hirsch, M.D., director of ophthalmy education at Johns Hopkins University.
He adds that, because of the growing population of OVCs, “more physicians are choosing ophthalmitics.”