Dr. Christopher Colburn of Lakewood recently spoke to members of the Jamestown Noon Rotary Club.
"I'm here to talk about the business of eye care, not about eyes, this time," Colburn said. "People always want to hear about vision, and I'm usually happy to talk about that, but the economics of all kinds of health care, especially eye care, are very important in this election year."
Colburn joined Spectrum Eyecare in December 2000. A 1998 SUNY College of Optometry (NYC) graduate, he also completed a one year residency in family practice at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
From left are Dr. James Schultz, Dr. Christopher Colburn and Bill Tucker, Jamestown Noon Rotary Club president.
"We want to concentrate on our patients and the very best care we can offer them," Colburn said, "so we try to separate our business as far as we can from our medicine in our office. We employ business managers and specialists so we can be doctors."
Nevertheless, some aspects of the business of eye care can actually improve patient care, Colburn said. Insurance companies and government inspectors, for example, insist on detailed analyses of which treatments can be proven to work and which systems of care produce the best outcome for the price. So systems analysis, outcome analysis and system modifications bring the business and practice together in ways that definitely improve both clinical practice and the economy and efficiency of care for patients.
Internet and televised "bargain eye care" products, like contact lenses in bulk, for instance, represent an economic challenge to established eye care providers. However, according to Colburn, as many of 45 percent of those products fail impact resistance and prescription accuracy tests and can represent a significant hazard to customers.
Another significant challenge to established eye care businesses is that some suppliers of products sold by companies like Spectrum Eye Care are now marketing their products directly to patients. They can not, however, usually supply the full spectrum of services, from diagnosis through treatment.
Proposed changes in patient and business reimbursement schemes by the government also present a significant challenge, in that reimbursement may be so low that it can not cover good or consistent care.
Colburn also introduced Dr. James Schultz, the newest addition to the Spectrum staff. Dr. Schultz is a Jamestown native now living in Lakewood who was hired by Spectrum Eye Care in August. He earned his Doctor of Optometry degree in June of 2012 at the Ohio State University College of Optometry.