In an age of evolving patient needs and growing concerns around telemedicine and contact lens prescription dispensing, CooperVision and its North America Professional Affairs team remain committed to advocacy efforts on behalf of the profession. In February, CooperVision partnered with the American Optometric Association to strengthen those efforts by joining as a charter member of the newly formed Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (APS). The APS is a strategic alliance designed specifically to advocate for maintaining the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship throughout the U.S.
Michele Andrews, OD, Senior Director, North America Professional and Academic Affairs, recently spoke with Vision Monday about the importance of APS’ mission. “The relationship between well- informed patients and their eye care professionals is essential to successful contact lens wear,” said Dr. Andrews. “The Alliance provides CooperVision with a valuable opportunity to partner with the American Optometric Association and others to help ensure eye health is at the forefront of discussions that affect our industry.”
One of the APS’s first activities was to advocate at a U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) contact lens workshop in Washington, D.C. Topics included contact lens marketplace competition, consumer access, prescription release and portability, and other contact lens-related subjects.
Dr. Andrews attended on behalf of CooperVision and was joined by Jerry Warner, President, The Americas, and Shaun Schooley, Vice President of Global Marketing Technology. Shaun participated in a panel discussion, “Examining the Verification Process,” where he discussed how contact lens prescription verification could benefit from better communication platforms, such as those offered by CooperVision’s Eyecare Prime and LensFerry.
In his comments around the current prescription verification process set forward in 2004 by the FTC’s Contact Lens Rule, Shaun explained, “Consumers are probably more empowered now than they have ever been in terms of being able to shop and buy. It is a fundamentally different world that we live in today than it was in 2004. LensFerry opens up a convenient way for the patient to be able to access products from their prescriber without having to go through the extra steps of an online retailer’s verification process.”
He went on to encourage the FTC to look to digital communications as an efficient alternative to tactics such as the ‘robocalls’ from online retailers that are currently in use. “I think the ability to digitize these communications would really help to ensure their accuracy and improve the ECP’s ability to respond,” he said.
Dr. Andrews has visited Capitol Hill on several occasions to advocate for safe contact lens practices and she is encouraged by the ongoing progress CooperVision is making in supporting the profession on both the state and federal levels. “CooperVision’s charter membership in the Healthcare Alliance for Patient Safety is an important part of our overall commitment to advocating for the profession,” says Dr. Andrews. “Now more than ever, as our profession continues to evolve, it is imperative that patient health and safety remain a vital part of the conversation and we will continue to engage in efforts to help shape policy that supports that message.”
“The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (APS) was founded in 2018 to advocate for patient safety and protect and defend the doctor- patient relationship—the essential foundation of personalized health care decision making.
Our members come together from across the country to raise awareness and protect public health. Advancing policy and collaboration between leading health care advocates, vision innovators and treatment specialists is essential to push patient care and vision protection forward.”
– From patientsafetytoday.com