Energizing a Retina Practice

Advances in AMD treatment have brought new hope to patients and physicians alike. They've also challenged practices to adapt.

Energizing a Retina Practice
Advances in AMD treatment have brought new hope to patients and physicians alike. They've also challenged practices to adapt.

When it comes to changes in a retina specialist's practice, for many, nothing has had more impact than the advent of photodynamic therapy (PDT) with verteporfin (Visudyne). For many patients who had virtually no treatment options for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), there's now hope. This type of advance energizes patients and physicians alike. And like any major new treatment modality, it drives changes within the practice.

To improve patient care and productivity, retina specialists need to educate AMD patients about the new therapy, define the roles of staff members in the process and improve practice and procedural efficiencies. In a recent teleconference, three retina specialists, a practice administrator and two registered nurses employed in retina practices discussed these challenges.

"We've all learned hard lessons about incorporating verteporfin therapy into our practices," says moderator Jason S. Slakter, M.D. "I think it's valuable to get the doctors', the administrators' and the nurses' points of view to understand the practical realities of verteporfin therapy."

Dr. Slakter asked panel members how their practices manage verteporfin therapy from the time a patient arrives until the time he leaves and throughout the treatment process. How do they educate patients? What processes are necessary to get patients into treatment? How do they involve staff in treatment? How do they ensure the whole process moves along smoothly, from scheduling to treatment to follow-up care?

The articles in this supplement summarize this discussion, with emphasis on what you can apply to your own practice.


Jason S. Slakter, M.D., Moderator
Dr. Slakter is a surgeon director at the Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital and clinical professor of ophthalmology at NYU School of Medicine. He is editor-in-chief of Retinal Physician magazine.

Mitchell S. Fineman, M.D.
Dr. Fineman practices at Retinovitreous Associates in Philadelphia. He's an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Patty Gumina, R.N.
Ms. Gumina is the nursing supervisor in a vitreoretinal practice on Long Island, N.Y. She received the Helen French Ludwig Award for outstanding achievement in clinical practice from Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren, Ohio.

Jamieson R. Holmes
Mr. Holmes is the CEO of Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida, a group practice of four retina surgeons that serves southwest Florida with five locations. He is also CEO of the National Ophthalmic Research Institute, specializing in clinical studies of the retina.

Mark Hughes, M.D.
Dr. Hughes is in private practice with Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston. He's a clinical instructor in ophthalmology at the Harvard Medical School and assistant clinical scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston.

Charity Stout, R.N.
Ms. Stout practices at Southeastern Retina Associates, a group practice with offices in Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia.