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Melbourne study to put new AMD tools under microscope

The University of Melbourne is recruiting optometrists to test new clinical tools, as well as an auditing system, it has developed for management of patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Entitled Optimising optometric care provided to people with AMD, student Ms Sena Gocuk, Dr Laura Downie and Professor Allison McKendrick are conducting the study that aims to involve 45 Australian optometrists.

The project, which they hope to commence in December, will focus on investigating the implementation of a set of new clinical tools the group has developed to support optometrists with AMD patients.

It will also ask optometrists to audit their own clinical practices using the Macular Degeneration Clinical Care Audit Tool (MaD-CCAT), which the university previously developed with funding from the Macular Disease Foundation of Australia.

For the study, optometrists will be randomly allocated a clinical practice tool for the next 10 patients with AMD they manage at their practice.

“They will then be asked audit their own AMD clinical practices using the MaD-CCAT for the 10 patients they used their practice tool for, as well as 10 consecutive patients with AMD seen prior to using the clinical practice tool,” Downie said.

“Clinical audit, involving the systematic review of one’s own patients’ medical records against best-practice standards, is recognised as an important component of medical professional accountability and continuing professional development.

“We will use information gained from this study to inform the next-generation set of clinical tools. In the longer-term, if these tools are shown to be useful in practice, they have the capacity to be disseminated both nationally and internationally.”

Downie said the project is an accredited CPD activity for participating optometrists, categorised as a ‘clinical independent learning activity’.

Participants are eligible for 1 CPD point per hour. As auditing a single patient record is expected to take approximately 30 minutes, completing an audit of two patient records is eligible for 1 CPD point. Ultimately, participants who complete the study will be awarded 10 (Therapeutic) CPD points.

Additionally, the research group is undertaking a complementary study to investigate the current clinical practice patterns of optometrists for AMD diagnosis and management.

“We look forward to being able to share these findings over the coming months,” Downie added.

IMAGE: (From left) The University of Melbourne’s Dr Laura Downie and Ms Sena Gocuk.

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