In this issue

President's message, Dr. François Codère

It is a great honour to have been elected to serve as your President for the next two years. I want to begin by thanking all of our Past-Presidents and exceptional Board and committee members who, over the years, have made COS the organization it is today. I would also like to convey my gratitude to Dr. Lorne Bellan for his outstanding leadership as President of COS over the past two years. Taking the helm after his outstanding mandate will be quite a challenge.

In the next two years, I would like to focus our efforts on our most important priorities, namely:

  1. Making the COS Annual Meeting one of the best learning experiences in ophthalmology
  2. Defining new ways to deliver eye and vision care in Canada
  3. Promoting the importance of COS in the global environment of health care delivery
  4. Continuing to develop clinical practice guidelines

I know that I can rely on the tremendous team to achieve our goals and hope that I can count on your support, as members of the COS.

As always, your feedback is welcome and greatly appreciated. Please contact us at any time should you have any suggestions to further enhance our relevance and value-add proposition to our membership. I look forward to working with you all in taking the organization to its next level of development.

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COS Tagline contest

A change of name to better describe an ophthalmologist to the public was discussed at the Annual Meeting this June. It was felt that adding a tagline to the Society's name would help to better differentiate ophthalmologists from other health professionals in terms of educational background, core competencies, experience, expertise, and responsibilities. The following suggestion has been made:

Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

We would like to hear from you! Please provide us with your suggestions by emailing us at [email protected]. Your responses by Wednesday, December 15, 2010, would be greatly appreciated.

The best responses will be sent to our membership for feedback in early spring 2011. You will then have an opportunity to let us know which one you consider to be the best. The lucky winner will be announced in early June and will receive complimentary registration to the COS 2011 Annual Meeting in Vancouver, BC. The recommendation will be presented to the COS membership for ratification at the June 2011 Annual Business Meeting.

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Update from COS President, Dr. François Codère, and Executive Director/CEO, Jennifer Brunet-Colvey

It has been an extremely busy year for COS. Many new initiatives are currently underway, as reported in the 2009 COS Annual Report presented at the Annual Business Meeting in Québec City on June 27, 2010.

We are pleased to update you on some of the current projects.

Membership survey results
An invitation to complete the survey was sent on April 29, 2010. It was promoted in the Society's spring 2010 newsletter and a reminder was sent on May 27, 2010. A total of 264 ophthalmologists completed the survey for a response rate of 42.3%, which is well above industry standards. Thank you to all those who took the time to complete the survey. Your input helps to shape the future direction of COS.

Key highlights:

  • From a list of primary reasons for being a member of COS, almost two-thirds (64%) of physicians indicated both continuing professional development (CPD) and the annual scientific meeting. Just over half (51%) cited the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology (CJO) and almost half (49%) indicated loyalty as being the primary reason.
  • With respect to the various programs and services and their perceived relevance to our membership, the following percent rating (in order of importance) was attributed to the following programs: annual scientific meeting (77%); CPD activities (74%); CJO (68%); clinical practice guidelines (66%); advocacy (64%); membership directory (63%); COS website (44%); and the member newsletter (36%).
  • In terms of recommendations, respondents gave web-based learning programs for CPD credit and the residents' program almost equal importance (72% and 73%, respectively); improving COS' online presence was also considered important or very important by almost two-thirds of respondents (65%).

The survey also provided statistical relevant data on responses by age of respondents and gender.

Please read the full COS 2010 Membership survey highlights.

Canadian Blood Services partnership
COS is working with Canadian Blood Services (CBS) who is leading a consultation process on the design of a national plan for organ and tissue donation and transplantation in Canada. Dr. Guillermo Rocha is the new Chair of the COS Eye Bank Committee and the principal liaison with CBS. A plan is being developed and the CEO of Canadian Blood Services, Dr. Graham Sher, will be presenting the plan to the COS Board this November. More information will follow in the winter 2011 newsletter.

Interprofessional collaboration in glaucoma care
The Canadian Glaucoma Society (CGS) recently developed a series of guidelines on interprofessional collaboration in glaucoma care. These guidelines were reviewed by the COS Board and the Council on Provincial Affairs (CPA). It was recommended that COS seek input and feedback from comprehensive ophthalmologists across the country in order to ensure greater due diligence before endorsing these guidelines.

Residents/Young Ophthalmologists program
Under the leadership of Dr. Kelly Schweitzer, the Resident Affairs Committee met at the COS Annual Meeting this past June to map out a strategy to further engage residents and young ophthalmologists. The executive of the Resident Affairs Committee met again in September. Dr. Stephanie Baxter serves as the COS Board Liaison on the Resident Affairs Committee. This is an important initiative for the COS and we look forward to keeping you posted on further developments.

Wait Time Alliance
The Wait Time Alliance is chaired by COS Past-President, Dr. Lorne Bellan. A report card was recently released with media pickup much higher than anticipated. Ranking of the quality of the provincial websites was felt to be important and valuable. Alberta's abandonment of their reporting on cataract surgery is very worrisome. There has been informal feedback from provincial department of health bureaucrats that the report cards are vital to keeping the Ministers of Health focused on wait times.

Health information technology strategy
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) recently announced the release of CMA's new 5-year strategy for health information technology (HIT) investment in Canada. The document Toward Patient-Centred Care: Digitizing Health Care Delivery and press release/backgrounder are available at www.cma.ca/advocacy/hit-strategy.

The HIT strategy is a key component of the Health Care Transformation in Canada: Change that Works, Care that Lasts initiative launched in August. It presents a pan-Canadian view that is intended to serve as a starting point for discussions at both national and provincial/territorial levels.

"This document is the result of extensive consultation within the CMA family, in particular the physician leadership across the country and various medical fora, including the Specialist Forum (SPF), and reflects the experiences and challenges of current and planned jurisdictional EMR programs in BC (PITO), AB (POSP), SK, ON (OntarioMD), NS and NB. I want to thank the physician volunteers from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, Canadian Ophthalmological Society and Canadian Society of Physician Executives who graciously agreed to act as a 'sounding board' for the strategy. Based on feedback from the SPF and provincial-territorial medical associations (PTMAs) concerning specialist needs, we have identified investments in EMRs ($410 million), a good portion of which would support adoption by specialists, and targeted funding ($10 million) to identify functional requirements to be incorporated into EMR product design, e-referrals and connectivity to hospitals and device integration" wrote Paul-Émile Cloutier, Secretary General and CEO of the CMA, in a recent memo to the Specialist Forum.

Special thanks to Dr. Paul Harasymowycz for serving on this Expert Panel to represent the needs of ophthalmologists.

Provincial news

British Columbia's proposed Standards, Limits and Conditions for the Treatment of Glaucoma and Ocular Hypertension
The government of BC has asked the College of Optometrists of BC to coordinate a meeting with the following key stakeholders: the College of Optometrists of BC, the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons, the BC Association of Optometrists, and the BC Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. The government, however, has made it very clear that, while it is required to be a collaborative process, it lies with the interdisciplinary committee of the College of Optometrists of BC to develop and finalize the proposed Standards, Limits and Conditions for the Treatment of Glaucoma and Ocular Hypertension.

COS, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and key representatives from Ontario, Québec, and Nova Scotia are lending their support to BC.

Ontario's Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council
Ontario's Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) recently released a report entitled: Report to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care on Interprofessional Collaboration Among Eye Care Health Professions. After a series of consultations, HPRAC has recommended to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) the concept of an Eye Health Council. Interprofessional collaboration will help to maximize health human resources, streamline professional roles, and improve system efficiency and quality of patient care.

The report states that: "The public should not be given the wrong impression that eye care services performed by different eye health professionals are in fact interchangeable". COS believes that clear information on the specific qualifications of each health professional will be key in assuring that the public is well informed about the roles and scope of practice of each professional. HPRAC is also recommending that there be ministerial and MOHLTC endorsement of the Eye Health Council, and the naming of a senior representative to participate as an observer on this Council.

COS applauds HPRAC's recommendations that "Ontario's vision health strategy should first and foremost be patient-centred. As in all other aspects of health care, the patient must be the focus of everything health professionals and institutions do."

We sincerely thank those who were involved in developing the COS recommendations submitted for consideration to HPRAC for their invaluable leadership: Drs. Kyle Brydon, Andrew Budning, Sherif El-Defrawy, Jeffrey Hurwitz, and Navdeep Nijhawan.

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2011 COS membership renewal

Membership renewals for 2011 will be sent by email early November. Members who have yet to provide COS with an email address can contact Rita Afeltra, Executive Assistant, at [email protected] otherwise, you will receive a print copy of the renewal notice by regular mail, and are encouraged to use the Internet to submit your dues as this greatly facilitates the renewal process. In addition, it's a perfect time to update your member information for accuracy as the information you post on your member profile will be extracted for publication in the 2011 Membership Directory.

The current membership of the COS stands at 1146 for the 2010 calendar year. A robust membership base is essential to ensure a viable and effective national society and its programming efforts on behalf of ophthalmology in Canada.

Please contact Rita Afeltra, Executive Assistant, with any questions or concerns ([email protected]).

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Continuing Professional Development

Accredited Provider Status
As an accredited provider of continuing professional development (CPD), COS must periodically undergo a review with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). We are pleased to announce that COS has been granted accreditation for a full 5-year period, effective until January 2014. COS achieved the adherence or exemplary adherence level on 17 out of 20 criteria, relating to 8 educational and ethical standards. COS has developed an action plan to address the 3 partially adherent criteria. We aim to improve our methods to determine the unperceived learning needs of our members, and to improve the link between identified learning needs and our CPD activities.

Québec City 2010: Great science, exciting exhibits, and flaming fiddles!
By all accounts, the 2010 annual meeting in Québec City was a resounding success! A total of 1275 delegates attended the meeting, including 439 ophthalmologists, 89 residents, and 212 allied health professionals. The more than 30 exhibiting and sponsoring companies ensured an exciting showcase of the latest developments in pharmaceuticals and ophthalmic equipment.

Highlights of the meeting included:

  • The CJO Lecture by Dr. Emmett T. Cunningham, Jr. - A practical approach to the use of corticosteroids in patients with uveitis (read the review article in August's issue of CJO).
  • Three top-notch, hands-on workshops featuring a cornea skills lab, a new surgical technologies course for glaucoma, and an astigmatism management cataract wet lab.
  • An unforgettable COS Celebration night at the Chateau Frontenac with flaming fiddles and dancing until dawn, courtesy of the Painchaud Family.

2010 Award Winners
COS presented the 2010 Awards for Excellence in Ophthalmic Research to:

Paper presentations
1st prizeDean T. Jeffery — Vascular risk factors in patients with retinal emboli
2nd prizeHannah Chiu — Breaking down barriers in communicating complex Retinoblastoma information: Can pictures be the solution?
3rd prizeToby Chan — Intrastromal versus topical moxifloxacin in a rabbit model of Pseudomonas aeruginosa keratitis
Poster presentations
1st prizeStephanie Proulx — Tissue engineering of a posterior corneal substitute using the self-assembly approach
2nd prizeToby Chan — Descemet-stripping automated endothelioal keratoplasty versus triple procedure: a comparative case series on visual outcome and complications
3rd prizeBoram Hong — Visual function in school age children with a history of prematurity: preliminary results

Meeting evaluation results: your feedback is important
Thank you to all delegates who completed the online CPD evaluation - 364 ophthalmologists used the newly improved online evaluation to claim their CPD credits for an astounding 70% response rate. Thank you for taking the time to reflect upon your learning and for providing us with information that we will be using to plan the 2011 meeting in Vancouver.

Regarding the scientific program, you told us the meeting offered:

Vancouver 2011 COS
Annual Meeting
Program at a Glance
  • "Excellent review of treatment of uveitis and optic neuritis by leaders in these fields."
  • "Conférences très intéressantes pour les ophtalmologistes généraux. Très bons résumés des sujets traités."

Regarding the overall meeting, you told us that you really liked the location of the meeting in Québec City and the excellent meeting facilities. What you liked least about the meeting was the food. As always, we appreciate your feedback and we endeavour to address any and all areas of improvement.

For comments and suggestions regarding the annual meeting and CPD activities, please contact:
Inika Anderson, Manager, Continuing Professional Development ([email protected])

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Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology: highlights from October's issue

Nanotechnology: what is it and why is small so big?
Nanomedical tools, while tiny in size, can have a huge impact on medicine and healthcare. This review article examines the current and future applications of nanotechnology and nanomedicine, as well as some of the potential benefits of nanotechnology for future treatment of retinopathies and optic nerve damage.

Nanotechnology in ophthalmology
Revolutionary treatments for ophthalmic diseases are expected to result from the burgeoning field of nanotechnology. This review article presents the general principles of nanotechnology as applied to nanomedicine; some applications of nanotechnology to ophthalmology are also described.

A Canadian population-based study of vision problems: assessing the significance of socioeconomic status
This national population-based study of self-reported vision problems in Canada found socioeconomic status to be a significant predicator of vision problems in adults.

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National Physician Survey 2010

We know that many important surveys land on your desk. So, why should you take the time to answer the National Physician Survey (NPS)? By filling out the NPS, you are adding more clarity to many issues, helping to monitor trends, and providing insightful perspectives for generations to come.

The NPS, conducted co-operatively every three years by The College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Canadian Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, is a highly regarded tool that helps governments, health human resource planners, professional associations and educators with their planning and policy making decisions about the Canadian health care system. However, this tool is only valid if we have sufficient and representative responses from Canadian doctors. Please make your contribution by answering the NPS.

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