Message from the President
Clifford Scott, OD '68, MPH
It’s hard to believe, but when the Class of 2017’s tech-savvy, always-connected students first came to NECO, the words Über, gender-neutral, Fitbit, and…”Alexa” were not part of their vocabulary. The pace of technological, geopolitical, and social change has been accelerating at breakneck speed and looks to be on course to continuing accelerating throughout the rest of the decade. Many of the assumptions that we previously used to achieve success will become obsolete. In the health care field, value-based will be the watchword for all policy decisions, stimulating debate about balancing value for the patient, value to the provider, and value within the payment system.
Increased access to services through insurance will be counterbalanced by the need to rein in the costs of those services. Delegating responsibilities among professional providers will shift, as team-based care, collaborative communications, and the use of electronic medical records become routine.
Our current first-year students, the Class of 2020 (how cool is that?!) will be practicing in a health care environment that will measured by access, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness. Vision care will be a lot different than what I signed up for five decades ago and even from what is now considered ‘standard-of-care’.
Our students also learn differently than we did. NECO has become a leader in providing education in ways and at locations that meet the needs of this generation. On-demand recorded lectures, team-based projects, facilitated group discussions (including sessions with live patients), simulators for clinical skills demonstration and practice, and online business course simulations are already part of our educational repertoire to create learning opportunities beyond the classroom experience.
Our newly designed clinical campus at Commonwealth Ave. will co-locate all our clinically related activities, including primary patient care, optical dispensing, specialty patient care, electro-diagnostic and other specialized testing, simulation laboratories, clinical research, and clinical procedures training. We will also be piloting models of care that emphasize the use of technology while delegating objective tests and measurements and patient education to technical staff. The goal is to upgrade the doctor’s role to a more appropriate skill level of analysis, diagnosis, and developing management/treatment strategies.
It’s a brave new world – and we want to help shape it.