Whenever I interview potential candidates as ophthalmic assistants, I do not place quite as much importance on technical skills as I do on their ability to relate to our patients as if each patient were their family members. We call it extraordinary care. We say, “champion the patient and never go wrong.” We say, “every patient, every time.” And when we find people who understand our culture, we snatch them up and train them in the fine art of ophthalmic assisting.
Our technician supervisor, under the direction of our doctors, is responsible for training the skills needed to become a technician. However, the candidate will spend time in every department: billing and medical coding, infection control, surgery center, patient coordination, and with the compliance officer, to establish a firm foundation for a most rewarding future for both the candidate and our patients. Our technician supervisor, permits the candidate to perform a portion of our patient’s exam only when they have been “signed-off” by the supervisor as proficient.
There’s more. Our practice enrolls the candidate into Ophthalmic Medical Assisting: An Independent Study Course This course is published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Enhancements in this revision include two new chapters: Refractive Surgery Concepts & Procedures, and Understanding Practice Management; revised chapters and glossary incorporating new evidence-based information and groundbreaking technologies; and 37 procedures explained in detail. The 368-page textbook is in full color, and the examination booklet contains 200 multiple-choice questions.
The candidate receives assistance from the doctors and staff, but the hands-on exposure creates invaluable training towards success. Candidates are expected to study, ask questions, share and most of all, listen to our patient needs and, most important, act as liaisons to our doctors.
JCAHPO Certification is earned through testing. An ophthalmic assistant must have graduated from high school or equivalent; successfully completed an approved independent study course (e.g., JCAHPO Independent Study Course (JCAT) or the American Academy of Ophthalmology Independent Study Course) within the 36 months prior to submitting an exam application. and been employed at least 1,000 hours (six months full-time equivalent) under ophthalmologic supervision within 12 months prior to submitting your application.
THE LONG INTRODUCTION is to give you a little history how much goes on before a technician receives his or her certification. Like those who have gone before them, we salute and hold in high esteem our newest JCAHPO Certified Ophthalmic Assistants! Your updated name tags are on the way with well-earned initials, C.O.A. after your name!
Congratulations and continued success!
Barbara C. Aliaga, Practice Administrator, The Harman Eye Clinic, Arlington WA, 20better.com