Each time a crop of optometrists graduates from ICO, we are given a golden opportunity to listen. We gather exit surveys, hold feedback meetings, and communicate with alumni in an effort to improve our institution. Over time, a clear message has taken shape. ICO’s clinical education is consistently regarded as our strongest trait. However, our focus on practice management could be stronger. In direct response to this feedback, we are proud to announce an improved curriculum- one that shines a much brighter light on practice management.
Practice management fundamentals have always been present at ICO. Until now, we’ve offered a Business of Optometry course, related electives, events, and clubs. Much of this content has historically been optional, though, as practice management is not highlighted on NBEO exams. Says Eric Baas, OD ’06, our new program “will put ICO at the forefront in preparing new graduates to succeed in the business aspects of optometry.”
This initiative was developed carefully over time. For the past two years, a group of ICO faculty and staff has been intensely dedicated to this process. The team studied curricula at other schools, best practices across healthcare disciplines, current educational materials and teaching resources, and insight from private practitioners. They thoroughly analyzed the core ethical, legal, administrative, and clinical issues surrounding practice management. ICO’s resulting robust curriculum will best prepare its graduates to provide patients with high quality, accessible, and cost-effective vision care.
“This curriculum propels students to embrace the business aspects of optometry no matter what their desired mode of practice will be.”
– Geoffrey Goodfellow, OD ’01
There were already 50 hours of practice management-related coursework in ICO’s program. This new enhancement adds in workshops, group activities, and online assignments for a total of around 80 hours. Practice management concepts will be present in every quarter across all four years. Enterprising individuals can also opt in to an elective practice management track containing 100 additional hours of content.
The goal of this new program is to marry ICO’s iconic clinical experience with the business side of optometry. The curriculum explores professional responsibilities, ethics, finance, administration, and more. Graduates will leave well-rounded, having crafted a tangible plan of entry into real world practice.
The Class of 2020 will be the first to experience this new format. New programming will be phased in over four years. “It is so exciting to have an identifiable practice management track starting for the first year students and continuing through their entire optometric education,” says Janice Jurkus, OD ’74. Geoffrey Goodfellow, OD ’01 agrees, “This curriculum propels students to embrace the business aspects of optometry no matter what their desired mode of practice will be.”
We especially thank you, our esteemed alumni community, for your feedback. Your dedication to this institution keeps us growing and evolving. Programming updates like this one benefit our students, but also add value to your established degree from ICO. We hope you are as proud of this initiative as we are.