WATCH: Data for professional development

Optometry Benchmark Reporting is clinical outcome reporting for optometrists. The reporting provides accurate context, drives accountability, self-reflection and team leadership while simultaneously highlighting areas where there is opportunity to refine practice, set learning objectives or become more consistent as a practitioner.
As optometrists become more aware of how their practice impacts patient outcomes, the behavioural shift that occurs is tangible as awareness is the predecessor to change.
Specsavers first launched individual Benchmark Reporting in 2018, resulting in distinct changes in clinical activity and therefore, patient outcomes – driven by optometrists’ increased awareness of their detection rates compared to the population prevalence of eye disease.

Glaucoma referrals as a percentage of patients, 2018

Combined with visibility through data of the various elements within their practice that lead to detection, and the ability to compare to peers and standardised benchmarks, this reporting has proven to be a vital enabler of enhanced patient outcomes.
Benchmark reports need to be thoughtfully constructed, relevant to the individual and their practice at any given time, continually delivered in a convenient manner, and tailored to allow individual optometrists to understand their own data and identify their learning needs.
The Optometry Board of Australia is aligned with this and has updated its standards for continuing professional development (CPD) in recent years whereby optometrists must seek to improve patient outcomes and contribute to improvements in clinical optometry practice. This represents a shift away from a compliance-based model to a standard emphasising effective CPD with demonstrable clinical outcomes, driven by an optometrist’s individual learning needs.
To ensure that professional development offerings for optometrists are clinically relevant and focused on measurable impact for patients, Specsavers has, in collaboration with RANZCO, embarked on the development and launch of a nationwide specialist-led education program. This program is driven by learning needs identified in regional benchmark reporting data and draws upon the RANZCO referral pathways to deliver educational content relevant to the region and to the clinical practice of the optometrists attending. The results from this program show potential to set the standard for outcome-driven education as the industry moves into a new era of professional development.