Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (ASP) Debuts to Advocate for ‘Patient Eye Health’

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ALEXANDRIA, Va.—With support from the American Optometric Association (AOA) and two leading contact lens companies, the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (APS) made its public debut Wednesday and will “work to fill the gap, advocating for solutions to advance patient eye health, vision care, and safety and to elevate the doctor-patient relationship,” according to the new group’s announcement. In addition to AOA, Johnson & Johnson Vision joined the new alliance as a Leadership and charter member, with CooperVision Inc. joining as an Associate and charter member. APS said it will work to elevate the doctor-patient relationship, which it called “the essential foundation of health care decision making.”

The Alliance launch comes against a backdrop of growing concern about a variety of eyecare and eye health issues being addressed at the state and federal levels, covering such topics as contact lens Rx dispensing, telehealth and online eye tests.

In its announcement Wednesday, however, APS did not raise those matters specifically, but emphasized the importance of the doctor-patient relationship. In addition, APS stated that it expects to “build on important eye health and technological advancements” as it carries out its mission.

“The Alliance for Patient Safety exists to advance patient eye health and provide patients with the latest credible information to improve and safeguard eye health,” Deanna Alexander, OD, chair of APS, which was founded earlier this year, said in the announcement.

“We will set out to ensure patient eye health and safety are at the center of the nation’s health care agenda and to advance patient health through education, empowerment, and the preservation of the doctor-patient relationship as the absolute foundation of sound health care decision making.” According to an AOA spokeswoman, APS will include among its membership “all groups who wish to make it their top priority to advocate for the doctor-patient relationship and the highest standard of care for medical devices.”

J&J Vision president, North America, Peter Menziuso said in a separate statement that J&J Vision is “proud to join the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety to promote key eye health issues, and provide patients with the latest information they need to safeguard their health.” He also said J&J Vision hopes more attention is brought to the area of “untreated and, in some cases, undiagnosed vision conditions… while also ensuring that eye health is a priority in our national health agenda” as a result of APS’s efforts.

Michele Andrews, OD, senior director of Professional and Academic Affairs, North America, CooperVision, told VMAIL in an email that CooperVision believes that “ensuring that patients have healthy, comfortable and affordable contact lenses is at the heart of what we do.” She added, “The relationship between well-informed patients and their eyecare professionals is essential to successful contact lens wear. The Alliance provides CooperVision with a valuable opportunity to partner with the American Optometric Association and others to help ensure eye health is at the forefront of discussions that affect our industry.”

According to APS’s announcement, eye diseases, vision loss and eye disorders create an estimated $139 billion economic burden in the U.S., with millions of Americans suffering from untreated or undiagnosed vision impairments. “Yet eye health and vision care are not priorities in the national health agenda,” the announcement noted. APS said it will “build on important eye health and technological advancements, and work with patients, policy makers and regulators to deliver transparent and factual information regarding eye health products, procedures, technology and safety.”

To become a local advocate or to get involved in protecting patient safety, visit www.patientsafetytoday.com. Organizations or individual providers who want to join the alliance or find out more information are invited to email APS staff director Chase Cannon at chase@patientsafetytoday.com.