June 2022
Volume 63, Issue 7
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2022
The ophthalmology clinic as a gateway: Patients new to an academic ophthalmology clinic and the subsequent utilization of care with other healthcare providers within the health system
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kenny Nguyen
    Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Ashley Sun
    Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Michael Chen
    Ophthalmology, Penn State Health Milton S Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States
    University of Colorado Department of Ophthalmology, Denver Health Medical Center, Denver, Colorado, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Kenny Nguyen None; Ashley Sun None; Michael Chen None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2022, Vol.63, 2807 – A0137. doi:
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      Kenny Nguyen, Ashley Sun, Michael Chen; The ophthalmology clinic as a gateway: Patients new to an academic ophthalmology clinic and the subsequent utilization of care with other healthcare providers within the health system. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):2807 – A0137.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose : Referrals generated from primary care networks have been shown to provide a multiplier effect in contributing value to the larger health system, but there have been few studies on the downstream effects of referrals generated from specialty clinics. We aimed to investigate the impact of an academic ophthalmology clinic on the larger health system by performing a cross-sectional retrospective study to analyze the subsequent utilization of care with other outpatient providers within the system following the initial visit.

Methods : Appointment records of patients aged 18 years and older who had a scheduled new appointment with an attending ophthalmologist at Penn State Health (PSH) Medical Center between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019 were analyzed. The patients who showed for this appointment were included for analysis. Patients were considered “Already established with PSH” if they had seen an outpatient healthcare provider within PSH within 3 years prior to the date of the eye appointment, and “Not already established with PSH” if they had not seen an outpatient healthcare provider within PSH within 3 years prior to the date of the eye appointment. Of this latter group, appointment records were analyzed to determine if and which other outpatient healthcare providers within the PSH system the patient received care from within one year after the eye clinic visit. The Institutional Review Board at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center deemed this study to be exempt.

Results : Of the 4628 new patient appointments in 2019, 3869 patients (83.6%) showed for their appointment and were included for analysis. Within this group, 1178 (30.4%) were “Not already established with PSH.” Within this group, 344 (29.2%) went on to see another outpatient healthcare provider within PSH within 1 year after their eye clinic visit. The type of outpatient healthcare provider seen included: another optometrist or ophthalmologist (n=169, 49.1%), another medical specialty (n=154, 44.8%), pre-operative anesthesia (n=65, 18.9%), and primary care (n=14, 4.1%). Some of these patients saw providers in multiple categories.

Conclusions : An academic ophthalmology clinic can serve as a significant gateway for patients to other departments within the larger academic health system.

This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.

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