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The ESCRS Practice Development Committee will host two major meetings this year

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This is the sixth year of the ESCRS Practice Development programme and as Kris Morrill of medeuronet points out, the programme has gone from strength to strength. As well as presenting at the practice development workshops, Ms Morrill has worked as a consultant for the ESCRS Practice Development Committee, helping to select speakers and advise on topics of interest to ophthalmologists who want to improve their business skills.

“Going into the first practice development workshop at the ESCRS in 2008 in Berlin, what was foremost in my mind was if we would be presenting to an empty room,” said Ms Morrill. “We knew that there was a need for providing European ophthalmologists with practice and business development advice, but the question remained as to whether attendees would show up. They did – packing the room over the course of the programme – and that has continued to this day.”

Over the last six years, the Practice Development Committee, chaired by Paul Rosen, has evolved the content to reflect how medical practice is changing and how healthcare is delivered, while also emphasising the need for ophthalmologists to be thinking in management and business terms. The addition three years ago of the Practice Development weekends, held outside the main ESCRS Congress, has also provided a new dimension.

International dialogue

“Perhaps the thing that has surprised me most over the past five years is how the attendance has become very international,” said Ms Morrill. “In 2012 in Milan, we had ophthalmologists from India and Australia sitting alongside ophthalmologists from eastern and western Europe, as well as North and South America. The dialogue that goes on between the attendees and the exchange of ideas that takes place is one of the most rewarding aspects of the workshops,” she said. “In addition, there are the attendees who return a year later to talk about changes that they have implemented in their practices since we last met – eager to share their experience with colleagues,” said Ms Morrill.

ESCRS Amsterdam

The sixth ESCRS Practice Development programme takes place at the XXXI ESCRS Congress in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The programme begins on Sunday October 6 and concludes on Monday October 7. Among the topics to be discussed are Establishing Quality Processes in Your Practice, Basic Business Skills for Young Ophthalmologists, Employers and Employees Rights. The keynote lecture on the first day will come from Carroll Webers and Rudy Nuijts, The Netherlands, who will tell delegates how building and designing a new office for their ophthalmological practice helped them improve efficiency and attract new patients. On Monday October 7, the programme continues with advice on Marketing Pearls for Ophthalmologists, Getting the Right Marketing Mix for your Practice and Internet Marketing. Full details of the programme are available at: http://escrs.org/ amsterdam2013/programme/practicedevelopment.asp

Frankfurt programme

Ophthalmologists and their staff who were unable to attend the Amsterdam programme or who wish to develop their practice management skills further are invited to attend the Practice Management meeting in Frankfurt, Germany from Friday November 1 to Sunday November 3. Unlike the Amsterdam programme, which is held as part of the XXXI ESCRS Congress, this is a standalone meeting with excellent speakers and the opportunity to network in an informal and relaxed setting. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Building your own Practice – Assumptions and Truths” and it is hoped that the programme will allow delegates a unique opportunity to get advice from top ophthalmologists and also marketing and management consultants on how to grow and improve their practices. Full details of the Frankfurt programme are available at http://pmfrankfurt.escrs.org.

* Colin Kerr is executive editor of EuroTimes and project manager for the ESCRS Practice Development Programme.

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