Turnbull Government considering unfreezing Medicare rebates

Lifting the Medicare rebate freeze

Health Minister Greg Hunt appears to be considering a deal with the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners to unwind the Medicare rebate freeze. Minister Hunt says he and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will review the rebate in a move that could cost more than $3 billion. There’s a speculation [Read More…]

Artificial intelligence vs ophthalmologist grading of diabetic retinopathy

algorithm to detect diabetic retinopathy

A team of researchers from the US has examined the performance of an automated deep learning algorithm compared with manual grading by ophthalmologists for identifying diabetic retinopathy in retinal fundus photographs. The algorithm was evaluated at two operating points selected for high specificity and high sensitivity, in two validation sets of 9963 images and 1748 [Read More…]

New index to examine geographic supply of clinical health workforce for Indigenous Australians

spatial distribution of clinical health workforce

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare utilised a new measure for its report, Spatial distribution of the supply of the clinical health workforce 2014: relationship to the distribution of the Indigenous population. The measure is Geographically-adjusted Index of Relative Supply (GIRS), which was developed to overcome limitations in using relatively simple provider-to-population ratios to [Read More…]

Feedback sought on a proposed revision to therapeutic endorsement for optometrists

Optometry Board endorsement for scheduled medicines consultation

The Optometry Board of Australia opens public consultation on endorsement for scheduled medicines registration standard and guidelines for use of scheduled medicines. The Board is inviting comments on the proposed revised registration standard and guidelines. The proposed revised registration standard and guidelines would be clearer and easier to understand. The Board-approved list of scheduled medicines [Read More…]

Women need more help from optometrists than men

women more likely to consult optometrists

Optometry Australia (OA) reports that not only are women using more optometric services than men, they also suffer a higher rate of vision disorders. According to OA, the latest Medicare statistics reveal that women received around 57% of the 8.48 million optometric services provided in 2015-2016. Females aged 5 to 85 outnumbered men in the [Read More…]

The VOTE Trust granted a total of $10,618 to two optometry projects

vote-trust-grant-recipients-2016

The Victorian Optometrists Training and Education (VOTE) Trust granted a total of $10,618 fund for distribution in 2016-17 to two recipients on the high standard projects. $4,325 was awarded to Dr David Hammond and Jane Duffy of Deakin University, and Khyber Alam, an optometrist in private practice for their project, Considerations when providing optometric care [Read More…]

Guidance for administering chloramphenicol for bacterial conjunctivitis

chloramphenicol-for-opthalmic-use

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has released a guideline on the provision of chloramphenicol for ophthalmic use for bacterial conjunctivitis. The guideline covers four steps to be taken by pharmacists in the dispensing of chloramphenicol. Meet professional obligations Pharmacists are obliged to the Professional Practice Standards (PPS) and the Code of Ethics for pharmacists Pharmacists [Read More…]

Can ocriplasmin replace vitrectomy?

ocriplasmin-for-vitreomacular-traction

For many years, vitrectomy has been a solution for vitreomacular adhesions including macular pucker, macular hole, and macular vitreomacular traction. However, surgery has a high risk of complications such as infection, retinal detachment, haemorrhage and cataract. Therefore, for the past two decades, researchers have been developing molecular (enzymatic), rather than surgical treatments for these conditions, [Read More…]

Is losing vision the worst possible health outcome? Research says perhaps it is……

is-losing-vision-the-worst-possible-health-outcome

A study in the US has revealed that for Americans, losing vision is equal to or worse than losing hearing, memory, speech, or a limb. However, although vision was a priority, many Americans were unaware of important eye diseases and their behavioral or familial risk factors. The study involved 2044 survey respondents in an online [Read More…]

The rate of diabetes in patients presenting to emergency deparments

glycated-hemoglobin-detect-undiagnosed-diabetes

A team of researchers led by Dr Dr Tien-Ming Hng of Western Sydney Local Health District conducted a study to test whether targeted glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) testing of high-risk populations could enhance the detection of diabetes and prediabetes. The study was conducted in the Blacktown-Mt Druitt Hospital, which located in an area of high diabetes [Read More…]

The patient I almost blinded – a lesson in sticking to my guns – by Amanda Griffiths

Amanda Griffiths

About 2 years ago I had this patient who I had a hand in almost permanently blinding. But the thing was, I pretty much did all the stuff I was “supposed to do.” I had referred him to an ophthalmologist when I thought it was looking bad. But when I could feel it in my [Read More…]

Why it’s so easy to think you’re a legend in your own mind – the hidden trap of being a primary health practitioner – by Amanda Griffiths – Founder My Health Career

AMG PAH with MHC poster

“It’s so easy to start your career in health thinking that you’re a legend in your own mind. Actually, without knowing this one thing, you are pretty well destined to start your career there. And even if you know this one thing, you might want to deny it anyway!! So let’s get on to what [Read More…]

ATAR or OP required for optometry courses in Australia

raining ATARS

There are 5 schools of optometry in Australia, and the ATAR or OP required depends on the pathway you take to become an optometrist. The following table shows the ATAR / OP scores that were required to enter each undergraduate course at the beginning of 2016. Please note that this is a rough guide only [Read More…]

Exhilarating! My week with the Royal Flying Doctor Service – by Rebecca Irwin – medical student and NRHSN Chair

Rebecca Irwin RFDS week

The unique exhilarating experience of flying to remote communities and stations to provide health care is unparalleled by anything I have experienced thus far. I loved flying with the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) to remote locations, hopping from station to station, community to community, providing health care as we went. Occasionally we were diverted [Read More…]

Telemedicine: A Fundamental Addition to Contemporary Medical Curricula – by Christopher Lemon

Christopher Lemon

“Medicine and technology are intrinsically linked. Many advances in health have been contingent upon synonymous advances in technology. This has become particularly clear in recent times when considering the extent to which to technology has helped to substantially improve not only understandings of disease processes, but also the ways in which they can be managed. [Read More…]

Optometry Program Syllabus Changes – by Sally Hoang – UNSW student

Sally Hoang

“There are continual improvements being made to university programs. Optometry at UNSW is no exception, with the recent addition of an introductory anatomy course in second year to help Optometry students understand systemic diseases affecting ocular health. In recent years, there have been changes made to develop the curriculum including the restructuring of the first [Read More…]

Health industry voices its opinions as the #healthelection2016 looms

health funding around federal election

Health organisations around the country have been lobbying for a greater share of the health spending dollar in the lead up to the election tomorrow. Federal Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, claims to have put patient outcomes at the centre of health reform in the Federal Budget released in May 2016, but many associations are [Read More…]

Skilled Occupations List submissions put workforce shortages and excesses in the spotlight

Skilled Occupation List 2016

The new Skilled Occupations List (SOL) comes into effect on 1st July 2016. There have been changes to the status of a number of health professions, and a large number have been flagged for consideration in 2017. Health professions being added to SOL from 1st July 2016: Orthotist or prosthetist Audiologist Health professions being removed [Read More…]

We’re frozen, there’s no provision for preventative health and it will be difficult for the poor to stay well – the aftermath from the 2016 Federal Health Budget

2016 health budget

The Minister for Health Sussan Ley has said that the 2016 federal budget puts patient outcomes at the centre of health reform, but there doesn’t seem to be much agreement from the health industry. One of the main reasons why the industry hasn’t supported the health budget is due to the freeze on the Medicare [Read More…]

61 recommendations for Choosing Wisely Australia

choosing wisely 61 recommendations

Sparking conversations between patients and clinicians about what care and management is truly necessary for specific conditions is the goal of the Choosing Wisely Australia initiative. The campaign has released 61 recommendations of tests, treatments and procedures that may not be necessary and could cause harm to Australian patients as the global healthcare initiative continues [Read More…]

Can optometrists please agree that we will be wary of these 5 things?!?! By Amanda Griffiths – founder My Health Career

what optometrists should do

I’ve been an optometrist for over 12 years, and because my first job was in a group of practices with 10 branches along with the fact that I’ve spent the last year as a locum, I have worked in around 40 practices. And while on the whole, I think that as a profession we do [Read More…]

Your invitation to join the 2016 journey to Everest with Eyes4Everest

Eyes4Everest volunteer

Following on from a successful 2015 trip to Everest, Eyes4Everest is looking for volunteers for its October 2016 trip. In 2015, the team of 5 optometrists and 3 assistants examined 472 children and adults. The outcome? 108 pairs of spectacles and 50 medicated eye drops were prescribed. On top of that 40 people were identified [Read More…]

Are you really listening? A view from the other side. By Gitte Backhausen – patient

Gitte Backhausen profile

Okay, so I know it’s practitioner month on My Health Career in May and that most of what we’re doing is sharing stories about the inspiring things health professionals are up to. When I got this article through from Gitte, I literally felt a bit sick in my stomach reading about everything she’d been through. [Read More…]

Antibacterial soap and regular soap: which one is more effective?

does antibacterial soap work

Antibacterial soap containing triclosan (0.3%) was no more effective than regular soap at reducing bacterial contamination when used under ‘real-life’ conditions, as concluded by research from Korea published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. The researchers aimed to examine the in vitro and in vivo bactericidal effect of triclosan (the most widely used antiseptic agent [Read More…]

Who is at risk of keratoconus?

keratoconus risk factors

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that weakens the usually spherically shaped cornea and begins to form a cone-like shape. This condition generally begins in early life and seems to occur in populations throughout the world. A new study published in the American Academy of Opthalmology has found that ethnicity and common systemic diseases affect [Read More…]

Want to be a doctor or health science professional?

UMAT

MedEntry, Australia’s leading UMAT prep organisation, have teamed up with My Health Career to share some tips on how to succeed in the UMAT and Interviews. Please note that this is a sponsored post representing the views of MedEntry, and that My Health Career recommends you do your own research before choosing a UMAT preparation [Read More…]

UMAT 2016 will be held on 27 July. Register now!

UMAT 2016

The Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) is required for undergraduate admission to many courses throughout Australia and New Zealand in the fields of medicine, dentistry and optometry. The results from UMAT 2016 can only be used for undergraduate medicine or health science courses beginning in 2017. According to the National Institute of [Read More…]

Checked your professional indemnity insurance lately? Revised PII standards for 8 professions will come into effect on 1 July 2016

AHPRA professional indemnity insurance

Effective on 1 July 2016, eight health professions in Australia will need to meet the obligations of the revised standard for professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements. The revised standard will replace the existing standard that is currently in place. The registration standard does not apply to the current cycle of renewals. However, the practitioners need [Read More…]

The 10 commandments of patient-centred care

the ten commandments for patient-centred care

A team of UK researchers has transformed their paper, published in the British Journal of General Practice, into a website fully dedicated to covering the 10 commandments for patient-centred treatment. Although it is about general practice, the principles are similar for any health profession, particularly where the profession involves disgnostics, prescribing medications or giving medications [Read More…]

Infants of blind parents pay less attention to eye direction

infants' attention to eyes

UK research published in Current Biology has found that infants of blind parents allocate less attention to adults’ eyes and gaze direction, compared to infants of sighted parents. Their overall social communication skills development were typical, yet the differences in gaze processing increased after 12 months of age. The researchers looked at how infants develop [Read More…]

Over 40% of diabetics with a foot ulcer die within 5 years

diabetic foot ulcers mortality rate

A recently published UK study has confirmed long-believed association between diabetic foot ulcers and an increased risk of death. 414,523 people with diabetes enrolled in practices associated with The Health Improvement Network in the United Kingdom were analysed for this study to evaluate the effects of diabetic foot ulcers and the covariates on death. Among [Read More…]

APLP2 – the genetic link for the development of myopia in children who read a lot

the genetics of myopia in children

For decades, myopia has widely believed to be caused by genes and their interaction with indoor activities such as reading and being on a computer. Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have finally found the first known evidence of that gene-environment interaction, which is related to the activity of a certain gene, called APLP2. The [Read More…]

Visual processing impairments in schizophrenia

vision and schizophrenia

Retinal and other ocular pathology contribute to visual processing impairments in people with schizophrenia, according to a paper published in Schizophrenia Research: Cognition. The review was motivated by known retinal changes in other disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis), and their relationships to perceptual and cognitive impairments and disease progression. The goals of the review [Read More…]

GradStats from the turn of the century…. What are health graduates getting paid? What’s the employment rate?

GradStats 2015

While starting salaries for new graduates from university health degrees have increased significantly since 1999, the percentage of graduates going directly into a full time job has dropped, according to GradStats data. Employment rate The GradStats figures show that there is now a lower full time employment rate for medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing (initial), rehabilitation, [Read More…]

$250 million for translating medical research into real benefits

Biomedical Translation Fund

The Australian Government will invest $250 million over two years to help translate Australian health and medical research into commercial reality as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA). This investment will provide the funds to improve the quality of life of Australians. The Biomedical Translation Fund alongside the Medical Research Future Fund [Read More…]

Could eye drops be the future rather than cataract surgery?

non-surgical treatment for cataracts

To date, cataracts are the leading cause of legal blindness in the world. The progress is usually quite slow and gradually leads to blurred vision before resulting in significant vision loss. Currently, the only treatment is surgical removal of cataractous lenses. It is known that changes to the proteins in the lens in the eye [Read More…]

10 year road map for Closing the Gap

ten year road map to close the gap

Minister for Rural Health Fiona Nash has launched an Implementation Plan as a further commitment to Closing the Gap. The Implementation Plan is a ten-year road map: a strategy to better health for Indigenous children, Indigenous youth and Indigenous adults. The Coalition decided to adopt and build on the 10 year National Aboriginal and Torres Strait [Read More…]

16% decrease in notifications – AHPRA 2014-2015 statistics revealed

AHPRA annual report 2014 - 2015

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the National Boards has published the 2014/ annual report. The annual report outlines and highlights AHPRA and the National Board’s activities in 2014/15, as follows:   1.   Improving performance and services 637,218 health practitioners are registered from 14 different professions representing overall growth of 2.9% 16% [Read More…]

Genetic interaction in the treatment of glaucoma

genetic interaction for glaucoma therapy

Findings of research undertaken at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) show that genetic interaction may prove to be a key component in the development and progression of glaucoma. Although the genetic research has been conducted with mice, the findings suggest a possible new target for glaucoma therapy and development of new drugs. In [Read More…]

Public consultations on two optometric guidelines

public consultations on optometric guidelines November 2015

The Optometry Board of Australia is undertaking public consultation on two areas in optometric practice: 1.  Guidelines for continuing professional development for endorsed and non-endorsed optometrists The guidelines took effect on 7 January 2013 and consultation is now occurring on proposed changes to clarify the criteria for approving providers of accredited CPD activities and location [Read More…]

More than 155,000 health practitioners due to renew registration by 30th November

health practitioner registration renewals

Twelve National Boards have launched their registration renewal campaigns for health practitioners whose registration to practise expires on 30 November 2015. A news item about renewal of registration is published on each of the following National Board websites: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia Chinese Medicine Board of Australia Chiropractic Board [Read More…]

Becoming a health practitioner – registering with AHPRA

AHPRA health practitioner registration fees

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency has recommended that students who are about to graduate as health practitioners apply for registration 4-6 weeks before finishing your course. For many students, that is NOW!!! About to graduate as a health practitioner? Apply 4-6 weeks before finishing your course. More: http://t.co/TBvBlUJ0do — AHPRA (@AHPRA) September 4, 2015 [Read More…]

Optometrists’ opinions on new Medicare item numbers

new Medicare optometry item numbers 2015

It’s been exactly one month since new item numbers for optometrists were launched in the Medicare Benefits Schedule. We decided to ask some optometrists what they thought about the item numbers.   Just to recap before we dive in…… 10944 – Removal of an embedded corneal foreign body that is sub-epithelial or intra-epithelial, and the [Read More…]

What’s the ATAR or OP required for optometry courses in Australia?

Optometry ATAR

There are 5 schools of optometry in Australia, and the ATAR or OP required depends on the pathway you take to become an optometrist. The following table shows the ATAR / OP scores that were required to enter each undergraduate course at the beginning of 2015. Please note that this is a rough guide only [Read More…]

AHPRA welcomes report of 3 year independent review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme which regulates 14 health professions in Australia

AHPRA NRAS review

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency recently welcomed a report following an independent three-year review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) and the Health Ministers’ response to its recommendations. ‘Such positive and constructive feedback reflects the focus and commitment to improvement of everyone who works at AHPRA, all members of national, state and [Read More…]

The coming surplus of optometrists in Australia – what can you do to stay competitive in the jobs market?

oversupply of optometrists

In June, NSW based Young Optometrists held an event called “Too Many Optometrists”. They broke into groups and came up with ideas on possible roles for optometrists outside the consulting room. They found that there are many roles for a creative optometrist, including: Sports vision Professional services for an organisation such as Optometry Australia Government [Read More…]

Optometric care of diabetes – when doing the right thing can seem like the wrong thing – by Amanda Griffiths

diabetic retinopathy

Obviously as an optometrist I have played a role in the management of many diabetic patients over the years. If you think this is just going to be another article on diabetic retinopathy, think again. Patients with significant diabetic retinopathy are usually straightforward to manage, especially if you have a retinal camera. If you take [Read More…]

The cost of diabetic macular oedema in the Australian workforce

cost of diabetic macular oedema

This year alone diabetic macular oedema (DME) is estimated to be responsible for $2.07 billion in indirect economic costs in Australia, with a significant portion of this to be due to a reduced capacity at work and lost wellbeing as a result of impaired vision. According to a report by Deloitte Access Economics which was [Read More…]

UMAT preparation – how can UMAT NIE and UMAT Australia help?

UMAT NIE

How can UMAT NIE & UMAT Australia help you with the UMAT? www.nie.edu.au Many students underestimate the UMAT (Undergraduate Medicine & Health Sciences Admission Test) and consider that it is just another academic assessment along the way to achieving their dream career. Nothing could be further from the truth. On average about 18,000 candidates sit [Read More…]

Allied health misses a guernsey in the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce – by Amanda Griffiths

Medicare Benefits Scheme Review Taskforce

It’s been about a month since Minister for Health Sussan Ley announced the members of the Federal Government’s Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce and the Primary Health Care Advisory Group (PHCAG). Although the PHCAG is made up of members from a number of health professions including physiotherapy, medicine and pharmacy, it is blatantly obvious [Read More…]

#WhyWeDoResearch campaign – by Cheryl Prescott and Claire Gibbs

Claire Gibbs and Abby Greaves

“The #WhyWeDoResearch campaign was conceived and launched via Twitter by Claire Gibbs, Senior Clinical Research Nurse (@ClaireGibbsUK) and Abby Greaves, Research Administrator, (@JPUHResearch) at the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in December 2014. Their intention was to use the hashtag #WhyWeDoResearch as a way to introduce core research team members to the public, [Read More…]

Novak Djokovic’s Italian Open celebration that almost caused a career ending eye injury

champagne cork eye injury

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) were quick to recommend caution when removing corks from champagne bottles following Novak Djokovic’s celebration after winning the Italian Open in Rome last month. The world number 1 was looking downwards towards the cork when opening a champagne bottle. The cork then shot upwards, hitting [Read More…]

Could a gene therapy be developed for “colour blindness?”

Cure for colour vision deficiency

Avalanche Biotechnologies has an exclusive license agreement with the University of Washington (UW) to develop products based on Avalanche’s proprietary Ocular BioFactory™ Platform for the treatment of colour vision deficiency (CVD), commonly known as red-green colour blindness. On the same day, Avalanche also announced that Drs. Jay and Maureen Neitz, faculty in the UW’s Department [Read More…]

Call for health professionals to be more aware of signs of child sexual abuse surfaces during royal commission

child sexual abuse in institutions royal commission

The ABC has again reported on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. They recently published revelations by psychologist Terence Kirkpatrick that he was sexually abused by a psychologist at the Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) in 1967 when he had been referred to the clinic to be treated for what was [Read More…]

In grade 12 and want to apply for medicine, dentistry, optometry in 2016? You might need to sit the UMAT. Registrations close 5th June.

Getting into medicine dentistry optometry

In light of the fact that I attended careers expos recently and came across excellent prospective health students who are currently in grade 12 and didn’t know they would need to sit the UMAT as part of the entry requirement, here is another UMAT article. The Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) is [Read More…]

Advertising health services is about so much more than the AHPRA guidelines

advertising laws for health professionals

Health practitioners need to be aware that their advertising must comply not just with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) guidelines where appropriate, but also with national law. Consumer Law The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is the authority who enforces the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The Act covers areas including false [Read More…]

Eyes4Everest fundraising to help rebuild Nepal following the two recent earthquakes

Eyes4Everest earthquake fundraising 3

Eyes4Everest is collecting funds to rebuild schools and homes damaged by the violent earthquakes that shook Nepal on Saturday 25th April and again on 12th May. The organisation travels to the Mt Everest National Park in the Upper Solukhumbu every year to provide primary eye care and training for the hospital staff at the Khunde [Read More…]

The health industry’s reaction to the 2015 Federal Budget

health industry federal budget

As usual, the federal government’s health budget has been a mixed bag for the industry. Professional bodies representing practitioners including podiatrists, pharmacists, occupational therapists, medical practitioners, optometrists, dentists, nurses and medical students have all had something to say about the budget. Here’s a summary……   Building a Healthier Medicare The Government has announced that they [Read More…]

My rant following the most recent round of careers expos….

The dark side of career expos

I have just returned from a series of 4 careers expos in the New South Wales towns of Young, Forbes, Dubbo and Bathurst. Although this website was started especially for high school students considering a career in health and has lots of resources such as videos from real health practitioners and pathways information, there are [Read More…]

Non-medical prescribing in the UK

non medical prescribing

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) stated that only “appropriate practitioners” can prescribe medicine in the UK. There are two categories of the said practitioners: Independent prescribers, who are healthcare professionals responsible for assessing patient and making clinical decisions about how to manage the patient condition and prescribing medication. They include doctors, dentists, [Read More…]

Percentage of practising optometrists with therapeutic endorsement hits 40%

Percentage of optometrists with therapeutic endorsement

As of December 2014 there were 1,921 optometrists in Australia who held a therapeutic endorsement of a total of 4,749 optometrists with general registration. That is just over 40%. This is a significant increase of 678 therapeutically endorsed optometrists since the March 2012 data was compiled by the Optometry Board of Australia. In that same [Read More…]

Google awarded patent for smart contact lens to measure blood glucose

Google smart contact lens for diabetics

United States Patent & Trademark Office has awarded a patent to Google Inc. for a “smart contact lens having an uneven embedded substrate and method of manufacture”. It has been reported that the smart contact lens patent could be used to monitor a wearer’s blood sugar level. Google believes that it is a less invasive [Read More…]

Life through a shortsighted child’s eyes

simulation of shortsightedness

For Lawson Martin, the world consists of blurred images. For her, everyone that is further away than a metre or two – from her parents to teachers – are just silhouettes with voices. Her friends make fun of her because the blurred vision she suffers from. Her teacher mistakes her for not paying enough attention [Read More…]

Announcement of successful applicants for Primary Health Networks

Medicare Locals to Primary Health Networks

Minister for Health Sussan Ley has announced the successful applicants to run the 31 Primary Health Networks which will replace the 61 Medicare Locals from 1st July. In a statement from The Department of Health, the Primary Health Networks will “replace Labor’s flawed Medicare Local system of 61 fragmented regions, which were found by an [Read More…]

What percentage of optometrists will be bulk-billing in 5 years’ time?

optometrist bulk billing

Changes to Medicare have meant that optometry practices have been either considering changes or making changes to their billing procedures. Changes to Medicare In the not so distant past, approximately 97% of optometric consultations in Australia that attracted Medicare benefits were bulk-billed. However, with the budget announcement in May 2014, it became clear that this [Read More…]

Please don’t look at the latest Department of Employment projections and think it’s all rosy in the health industry

Department of Employment health industry projections

Once again the federal government’s industry employment projections data show that the Health Care and Social Assistance sector will be the leading provider of new jobs in the Australian labour market. However, just because the sector as a whole is performing well, do not interpret this to mean that all students who study degrees in [Read More…]

UMAT 2015 registrations are open

UMAT 2015

Students who are interested in applying for undergraduate programs in medicine, dentistry and health science commencing in 2016 will have to complete Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) 2015. Is UMAT required for the course you wish to apply for? The test is used specifically to assist with the selection of students into [Read More…]

Glaucoma co-management information for optometrists that was published in an ophthalmology journal

co-management of glaucoma

I recently attended a conference for optometrists where one of the speakers was Dr Andrew White PhD FRANZCO, the author of a “perspective” paper which was published in March 2014. The title of the paper was Guidelines for the collaborative care of glaucoma patients and suspects by ophthalmologists and optometrists in Australia. In a room [Read More…]

Are plain cigarette packs really making a difference?

plain cigarette packaging study

On 1 December 2012, Australia became the first country in the world to introduce mandatory plain cigarette packaging. Cigarette manufacturers were required to produce plain cigarette packs with a large of coloured graphic health warnings (GHW). The purposes of the legislation are: Reducing the appeal of tobacco products to consumers Increasing the effectiveness of health [Read More…]

AHPRA to introduce further drug screening procedures for practitioners with substance related impairment

AHPRA drug testing for health practitioners

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) will be introducing mandatory hair testing for all practitioners with a substance related impairment. Under the screening protocol, all health practitioners who have restrictions on their registration linked to previous substance abuse will have routine hair testing in addition to the urine drug screening as per the interim [Read More…]

Upskilling online made possible by Monash University

Monash Online courses for health professionals

The health industry is incredibly rewarding yet can be a mentally draining area to work in. Take it from Natasha Jennings of the Alfred Hospital’s Emergency and Trauma Centre, who shared her typical day online at Health Victoria. Her exhausting day begins at 5am and she is seeing patients as soon as she steps into [Read More…]

What’s the best diet? Free public event in Brisbane run by Dietitian Connection

Dr Joanna McMillan

Dietitian Connection has put together a world-class program of speakers so that your patients / clients and any member of the public can go along and hear about what they should REALLY be eating. With the theme “What’s the best diet? Paleo? Gluten-free? Sugar-free?” the event is sure to do some major myth-busting about what [Read More…]

Be My Eyes – the app that lets you lend your eyes to the blind – by Jeremy Chan

Be My Eyes app

“Many of us cannot imagine our life without being able to see. However, for blind individuals or those with low vision, this is the reality they are faced with. The ability to perform common, everyday tasks that we take for granted are often challenging. With Be My Eyes, we aim to make these daily tasks [Read More…]

What do patients think about digital health? By Cathie Reid – Digital Health Summit post 4

technology in health

This is the fourth and final post in my series from the Digital Health Summit at CES 2015, following on from posts on wearables, disrupting the doctor visit, and how pharmacy can avoid its own Kodak moment. It was fantastic to see the program include a session on the patient perspective, as all too often [Read More…]

GAMSAT 2015 registrations close soon

GAMSAT 2015

If you are looking at applying for post-graduate courses in medicine, dentistry, optometry or podiatric medicine in 2016 or 2017, you may need to sit the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) this year. Is GAMSAT required for the course you wish to apply for? If you hold a Bachelor’s Degree, GAMSAT is at least [Read More…]

Peek: A simple mobile app to examine the eye

Peek mobile eye testing app

Dr Andrew Bastawrous, the ophthalmologist behind the mobile app Peek, has been featured as a speaker for TED. In his talk, he highlighted the fact that of the 39 million people around the world who are blind, 80% of this blindness is from conditions that are treatable or curable.   When Dr Bastawrous started working [Read More…]

Optometrists no longer able to independently manage glaucoma

optometrists managing glaucoma

The Optometry Board of Australia’s revised Guidelines for use of scheduled medicines was released on Monday 8th December 2014 with the amendments made to the treatment of glaucoma by optometrists effective immediately. Under the guidelines, optometrists are still able to assess patients for glaucoma, make an initial diagnosis and commence treatment where appropriate, but must [Read More…]

Optometry Australia to take on Federal Government over Medicare fee freeze

Optomety Medicare freeze

While there has been widespread coverage of the $7 GP co-payment model being replaced with the “optional” $5 co-payment model, there was one line in the joint media release from Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Minister for Health Peter Dutton on Tuesday which affects thousands of allied health practitioners around the country: Additionally Medicare fees [Read More…]

AHPRA stats include more notifications of health professionals

AHPRA 2014 report

There was a 16% increase in notifications made about health practitioners in 2014, with more than 10,000 notifications (called “complaints” in Queensland). The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has released these details in its 2013/2014 annual report. Key statistics in the report include: 10,047 notifications were received in 2013/2014, up from 8,648 in 2012/2013 [Read More…]

Optometrists will no longer be able to independently manage glaucoma when new guidelines are released

Optometry guidelines for managing glaucoma

If you have followed the development of the glaucoma treatment saga this week, it’s been confusing times. The basic plot is that after about 18 months of court action, the Optometry Board of Australia will be modifying its guidelines on glaucoma diagnosis and management. While the current guidelines allow therapeutically qualified optometrists the scope to [Read More…]

Optometry Board of Australia’s Chair questions if the way the profession is viewed has changed in 100 years

optometry and ophthalmology

Colin Waldron, Chair of the Optometry Board of Australia, has questioned whether optometrists are viewed any differently by ophthalmologists today compared with 100 years ago. He highlighted this in a recent Chair’s report due to the legal action commenced in the Queensland Supreme Court by the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO) and The Royal Australian [Read More…]

AHPRA seeking health practitioner members for 11 of its 14 boards

AHPRA national board applications

AHPRA is seeking to fill 102 practitioner and community member vacancies on 11 of its national boards. Professions which have board vacancies for health professionals are Chinese medicine, chiropractic, dental, medical, nursing & midwifery, optometry, osteopathy, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry and psychology. The functions of a national board include the registration of students and practitioners in [Read More…]

Setting up an optometry practice? Your competitors might be close by!!

setting up an optometry practice

Are you exploring the possibility of opening up an optometry practice in the future? Then you might want to check out the Optometry Market Analysis (OMA) report compiled by ACIL Allen Consulting, who were engaged by the Department of Health to provide a database of optometry practices in Australia. Proximity of competitors The Optometry Market [Read More…]

The benefits of exercise for the optic nerve

Exercise for the optic nerve

While the general public is aware that exercise is good for their health, they probably wouldn’t consider that it’s also good for their EYE health. A recent study by the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), published in the Neurobiology of Aging journal has found that exercise is also good for the optic nerve. The [Read More…]

A brilliant take on examining the front of the human eye – the slit lamp examination!

Slit lamp examination

Dr Timothy Root, a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon from Florida has put together a YouTube video about using a slit lamp (the microscope used to examine our patient’s eyes). Dr Root starts off by looking at how a slit lamp is put together, and why the practitioner needs to be comfortable when setting up [Read More…]

Australian HealthFusion Team Challenge 2014….. and the winners are….

Team UQ

A couple of months ago I was asked to be the Master of Ceremonies at the Australian HealthFusion Team Challenge. Being offered such a great opportunity is a bit of a privilege, and although I was keen to take part in the day, I was also a bit daunted as it is such a full [Read More…]

At what point do optometrists refer patients for cataract surgery?

cataract surgery referrals

A recent paper published in Clinical and Experimental Optometry explores the cataract referral practices used by Australian optometrists.Members of the Optometrists Association Australia (now Optometry Australia) were invited to complete a survey about their practice demographics, their professional characteristics, and the considerations they make for cataract surgery referrals. Over three quarters of respondents indicated that [Read More…]

Optometric workforce oversupply from 2016

optometric workforce oversupply

Optometry Australia (formerly known as the Optometrists Association Australia) has commissioned a report “Optometric supply and demand in Australia: 2011-2036”, which is forecasting a significant oversupply of optometrists by the year 2036, but starting from 2016. The report takes into account demand for services as well as graduate numbers. It is expected that the optometric [Read More…]

Treating Macular Degeneration – could injections replaced with drops?

Eye drops for macular degeneration

How would you feel about having to see an eye specialist to have injections in your eye on a regular basis in an effort to save your central vision? I’m sure it’s not pleasant. As an optometrist, I have more patients that I can count having injections every 4 to 12 weeks to help resolve [Read More…]

JulEYE 2014 – imagine missing the big moments in your life

JulEYE

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists Eye Foundation’s national JulEYE campaign is underway. RANZCO is encouraging Australians to get their eyes tested, as every 65 minutes someone loses part or all of their vision, even though 75% of vision loss is preventable. This year RANZCO is calling on Australians to “imagine missing [Read More…]

Tamsulosin and other alpha-1 adrenergic receptor antagonists may cause eye surgery complications

alpha-1 adrenergic receptor antagonists floppy iris

This week I went to a continuing education event for optometrists where one of the speakers, ophthalmologist Dr Joshua Hann showed images of complications encountered during cataract surgery due to the patient having a floppy iris. And let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. He mentioned that alpha-1 adrenergic receptor antagonists were the cause, and [Read More…]

Young Optometrists Advancement in Soft Contact Lenses Event August 19th

YO Executive

My Health Career is pleased to present a guest article from Chris Pooley, one of the executive members of Young Optometrists (YO). YO’s next event is being held on 19th August, so be sure to save the date! You can follow YO on Facebook or become a member and register your details. “At the end [Read More…]

17th June date claimer – myfuture Q&A session about a career as an optometrist to be presented by My Health Career founder Amanda Griffiths

AMG world sight day narrow

I will be presenting a live Q&A chat session about my career as an optometrist for myfuture on Tuesday 17th June at 2pm. Click here for more details on the myfuture website. I you have any questions you would specifically like answered, please use the contact form on My Health Career and I will let [Read More…]

World No Tobacco Day – Smoking and Cataracts

World No Tobacco Day

Today is World No Tobacco Day, and the World Health Organization is warning that globally, tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year and that without any action, this number is expected to rise to 8 million by the year 2030. More than 80% of these deaths will be in middle and low income countries. [Read More…]

Optometry Australia casts its vision for the profession

Optometry Australia

The Optometrists Association Australia has re-branded its organisation and has launched as Optometry Australia in an effort to become bolder in their leadership of the profession. A recent survey of members revealed that Australian optometrists believe the profession should move forward by: Government lobbying and advocacy Raising the standing of optometrists as eye health experts [Read More…]

Time is running out to register for UMAT

umat exam

The Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admissions Test (UMAT) will be held in testing centres throughout Australia on 30th July 2014. Registrations close at 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on 6th June 2014. 14 universities in Australia and New Zealand require UMAT for entry into some of their courses. Generally it is medical, medical laboratory [Read More…]

Mixed bag for optometry in the federal budget

optometry budget 2014

The federal government’s 2014-2015 budget contained changes to the Medicare benefits for optometry services in two main ways. These relate to the time frames in which a comprehensive examination can be billed, and to the rebates for optometry services.   Billing time frame for comprehensive examinations For many years, the Medicare rebate for a comprehensive [Read More…]

Patients with chronic diseases – which health practitioners are they being referred to?

Chronic disease referrals

The percentile statistics for the use of the allied health item numbers for patients with a chronic condition who are being managed by their GP under an Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) plan have been released on the Medicare website. Under this plan, Medicare rebates are available for a maximum of 5 allied health services per [Read More…]

Allied health practice owners conference – Maida Learning

Cropped DL Flyer FRONT

Allied health professionals and practice owners now have access to education and professional development specifically for their unique business requirements with the establishment of Maida Learning and its inaugural Healthy Practice Conference being held at Canberra’s Hotel Realm on 16 and 17 May. Director of Maida Learning, Amy Geach launched the conference and her third [Read More…]

Health Fusion Team Challenge registration open to uni students

Health industry report

University students studying a health degree in an Australian university are now able to register a team for the 2014 HealthFusion Team Challenge (HFTC). The HFTC is an award winning program aimed at educating students from different disciplines in the area of collaborative patient care. There are 4 basic steps to being involved in the [Read More…]

Australian optometric workforce in focus – are there jobs for optometrists?

are there jobs for optometrists

Please note that since this article has been published, new data has shown that an oversupply of optometrists in Australia is predicted from 2016. It was only back in February 2014 that My Health Career published an article “Are we training too many optometrists in Australia?” after piecing together workforce data from sources including the [Read More…]

Advertising guidelines for health professionals changed… just waiting on official AHPRA documentation

AHPRA Action

AHPRA Action, a campaign led by Melbourne surgeon Dr Jill Tomlinson, to have the Guidelines for Advertising Regulated Health Services changed, has had some success, but is still looking for the guidelines document to be changed. The part of the guidelines in question is in section 6.2.3, where it states that: A practitioner must take [Read More…]

Possible eye emergency – flashes of light and floaters in the vision

Flashes and floaters

The take-home message: if you have a recent onset of flashes of light (e.g. like lightning bolts) or floaters (e.g. that looks like a series of small red or dark coloured spots, a cobweb, thread of cotton, a mosquito or fly) in your vision, contact and consult your eye care professional as soon as you [Read More…]

Want to fly to the Northern Territory to inspire the next generation of health practitioners?

NT Rural High School Visits

The Northern Territory Medicare Local is now taking applications for university health students to fly to the Northern Territory to connect with high school students to promote health careers. Participating uni students will have the opportunity to present workshops to high school students to demonstrate the challenges and rewards of health careers, and also share [Read More…]

Are we training too many optometrists in Australia?

future of optometry jobs

Update: Please note that in mid-2014 Optometry Australia released the results from a report stating that there would be a significant oversupply of optometrists in Australia by 2036, that will be starting from 2016. Please expect a competitive jobs market on graduation if you are considering becoming and optometrist. Please also see our August 2015 [Read More…]

Non-medical prescribing: the dispute continues

medicine prescribing rights

In Australia, medications are traditionally prescribed by medical practitioners such as general practitioners, dermatologists and paediatricians, as well as dentists. More recently, suitably qualified health professionals including nurse practitioners, optometrists and podiatrists have taken on the role of prescribing medications. In the past it has been up to the professional bodies to lobby for prescribing [Read More…]

On being a rural optometrist

Philip Anderton optometrist

Phil Anderton is a semi-retired optometrist who researched and taught optometry and vision science at the University of New South Wales between 1978 and 2005. He has now “retired” to live near a small town in Northern NSW where he runs a Primary Care Optometry clinic one day per week. He is the Rural Optometry [Read More…]

Nutrition and eye health

Nutrition for eye health

While optometrists have an awareness of the impact nutrition can have on eye health as it relates to macular degeneration, dietitian Clare Barrett has written an article to assist optometrists in giving up to date advice to patients. Following is a summary of the article. Diabetes: dietary advice for diabetics a specialized area of dietetics, [Read More…]

Orthokeratology – Is Ortho K the Future of Myopia Control?

Orthokeratology

My Health Career is pleased to present a guest blog post from Paul Graham, who is a director of Harmony Vision Optometry and Vision Therapy Clinic on the Gold Coast www.harmonyvisioncare.com.au. The practice is focussed on alternatives to sight correction with glasses, which include vision therapy, behavioural optometry, contact lenses and Ortho-K.  We have a [Read More…]

World Sight Day 2013 theme Universal Eye Health

World Sight Day 2013

World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness, focused on blindness and vision impairment on a global scale. It is held on the second Thursday of each year, with the 2013 World Sight Day falling on the 10th of October. According to the World Sight Day 2013 Fact Sheet, 223.4 million people have vision [Read More…]

Behavioural optometry – because seeing well is more than just good sight!

Vision training

We are grateful to Gold Coast based optometrist Paul Graham on providing his perspective on behavioural optometry. Paul is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Behavioural Optometry, and the owner of Harmony Vision. “Today, most people have a sense of what an optometrist does. But when I first graduated and told people what I [Read More…]

Optometrists Association Australia membership in the spotlight

Optometrists Association Australia

Membership numbers of the Optometrists Association Australia (OAA) could possibly drop in this financial year as some optometrists are opting to take out their own professional indemnity insurance. In the 2011-2012 financial year, the OAA reported that more than 4,250, or 93% of the optometrists in Australia were members of the OAA. It is too [Read More…]

What makes an optometrist happy in their workplace?

Optometrists happy in the workplace

A recent survey conducted and published in Clinical and Experimental Optometry showed the factors that make an optometrist happy in their workplace. About 78% of Australian optometrists reported that work-related factors such as clinical challenges keep them happy and satisfied with their profession. The second biggest factor that the participants liked about their work was [Read More…]

Optometry – where you practice can have an impact on your career!!

Australian optometric market share 2012

mivision, a magazine about the optical industry in Australia, published an article about the market share of optometry practices in Australia in 2012. mivision used the ‘number of doors’ – that is, the number of practices as the basis of its article. So to put it in terms of a pie chart, the number of [Read More…]

Macular Degeneration Awareness Week

Macular degeneration

With Macular Degeneration Awareness Week coming up, and running from the 26th May to the 1st June, we couldn’t go past writing a post about it!! While statistically one in 7 Australians over the age of 50 show some evidence of macular degeneration, it sometimes does not progress to cause any significant vision loss. However, [Read More…]

The Allied Network Conference – mixing optometrists with other health professionals!!

Optometry - The Allied Network Conference

I was invited to speak about optometry at The Allied Network’s inaugural conference on Saturday 6th April. There was a great line-up of speakers, with the professions of dietetics, exercise physiology, physiotherapy, psychology and social work being represented. Other speakers included an accountant, business coach, marketing experts and a mindset coach. I had 15 minutes [Read More…]

A super-quick summary about optometry as a career in Australia

Optometry in Australia

Please click here for My Health Career’s full page packed with links to information about a career in optometry.    On Wednesday 6th March I will be at the optometry table at a careers event for students from five high schools in Brisbane. I’ve put together a few bullet points to give an overview of [Read More…]

University optometry – is UMAT/GAMSAT a requirement?

university optometry

Um really…… it depends… on which uni you are applying to. There are five schools of optometry in Australian universities, and a recent article in Australian Optometry magazine summarized the entry requirements: University of New South Wales – UMAT (undergrad entry) or GAMSAT (graduate entry) is required. Flinders University – UMAT is required for undergrad [Read More…]

Could optometrists be treating glaucoma in the future?

Optometry - glaucoma

On 23rd November 2012, the Optometry Board of Australia released a proposal to have therapeutically qualified optometrists have an expanded role in managing patients with glaucoma. This raises the questions ‘what is glaucoma and how is it treated’? The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is an eye condition most prevalent in [Read More…]

Smoking – what’s that got to do with eyes & vision?

Vision and smoking

Vision 2020 Australia has teamed up with Quit Victoria to produce the new Vision Initiative Smoking and Vision Loss information sheet to encourage more conversations between smokers and health professionals about the effects smoking has on eyes and vision. You might have been out somewhere in an environment where there is lots of cigarette smoke [Read More…]

Optometry and Medicare – what’s the go?

Optometry Medicare

According to Medicare, approximately 97% of optometric consultations in Australia that are covered by Medicare are bulk-billed. The major reasons optometrists cited for the high rate of bulk-billing are perceived patient expectation, a need to offer competitive fees and employer/company policy. So what does this mean in the optical industry in Australia? The rules in [Read More…]

World Sight Day – why 75%?

World Sight Day 2012

This year World Sight Day will be celebrated on Thursday 11th October. And Vision 2020 Australia is promoting the theme as 75%….. why???? In Australia, approximately 75% of blindness and vision loss is preventable or treatable. Vision 2020 Australia is using the 75% campaign to motivate Australians to think about eye health, and what their [Read More…]

The bionic eye – what’s been happening?

Bionic Vision Australia

During an eye test, patients will bring up all sorts of eye-related questions for their optometrist to answer. A ‘hot topic’ lately has been the bionic eye, especially since it is being developed in Australia…. On 30th August 2012, Bionic Vision Australia released details of a major development in their research. They reported that they [Read More…]

Children’s Vision…. so many things to look out for!!!

Children's Vision Day

The statistics tell us that one in four children in Australia have an undetected vision problem. Kids generally think that how they see is how everyone sees, and aren’t often aware that they have a vision problem. The Optometrists Association Australia recommends that children have a full eye examination with an optometrist before they start [Read More…]