AOA Launches Subsidiary, AOAExcel, Combining New and Existing Services With a Portal to Health Information Technology

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CHICAGO—The American Optometric Association (AOA) has launched AOAExcel, a wholly owned subsidiary dedicated to supporting the business and career needs of AOA members. The new for profit national venture was introduced today by former AOA president Joseph Ellis, OD, during the 115th Congress House of Delegates at the organization’s annual Optometry’s Meeting being held this week at the McCormick Place Convention Center.

AOAExcel will deliver both new offerings as well as current AOA benefits through a new website at ExcelOD.com, where members can customize practice advancement resources specific to their own business objectives and career goals. “This new platform will improve direct access to the Career Center, financial services support, insurance programs, practice marketing, EHR and coding/billing resources,” announced Ellis. “As is the case now, some of these offerings are free membership benefits, while some premium services come with an additional fee.”

Among the new services available through AOAExcel will be a portal that Ellis described as “an OD on ramp to the health information highway.” It will enable optometrists to access the purchase and integration of health information technology tools. This access is made possible through AOA’s partnership with AT&T Healthcare Community Online, which will provide an open source direct path for connecting with health information technology.

Ellis stressed, “To be clear, we are not building or acquiring an EHR company. To the contrary, we are going to be broadly inclusive of products in working with all information technology companies that have an interest in serving the best interests of our members.”

Barry Barresi, OD, PhD, executive director of the AOA, explained to VMail that it is commonplace for non-profit organizations to establish for profit divisions as wholly owned subsidiaries. He also told VMail that Ellis is the chairman of the board of the new entity and that he is in attendance at the AOAExcel booth at Optometry’s Meeting to discuss this new development with thought leaders in the field of optometry. Barresi will be the CEO of the new subsidiary.