The RSA believes that increasing the number of well-trained refractive surgeons will increase the popularity and success of refractive surgery. By doing so the RSA will enable young, practicing ophthalmologists to learn from the more experienced, established advisors. In addition to bi-annual meetings at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), members will have the opportunity to travel to the advisor’s practices and directly observe surgery, patient flow and business management.
Refractive surgeons require skills that go well beyond those of a general ophthalmologist. Traditionally, refractive surgeons acquire their refractive surgery skills by completing a fellowship program. These programs traditionally provide excellent training in clinical and surgical areas. However, traditional fellowships require a full year time commitment and generally limit the training fellow’s exposure to one mentor. They also tend to focus exclusively on clinical content and do not provide training about practice development and entrepreneurship.
The RSA is also working to create resources that will allow surgeons to access specialty training that includes exposure to several mentors and practice styles, and also gain business training. We are also developing digital content to provide access to the most current techniques and information on demand.
The RSA has established the “Refractive Fellowship Network” to allow members to offer training to colleagues in modular format in one to 8 week sessions. Participation is open to all RSA members, and will take advantage of the rich experience of our members and advisors. The content, format and arrangements are customized according to the fellow’s interests.
Refractive surgeons require business and leadership skills that go beyond clinical and surgical training. Few if any current fellowship programs offer business training, and so the RSA is partnering with SurgiVision® Consultants, Inc. to offer RSA members the opportunity participate in the Physician CEO™ program. The Physician CEO™ program is a one-year certificate program that provides training in leadership, strategy, negotiations, finance, marketing, operations, and other areas essential to running a refractive surgery practice. It is presented by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, which is a globally top-rated business school located just north of Chicago.
Refractive surgeons require a very high level of clinical skill, technical expertise and business acumen. The Refractive Surgery Alliance is committed to helping surgeons access these skills and is innovating the educational process. The RSA Physician Education Initiative is a win-win for surgeons and patients alike, and will significantly accelerate the growth of refractive surgery.