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Subspecialties Education and Training, Health Economics and Policy

Off the Beaten Track: It's Not About You!

  • Skill transfer and sharing the knowledge with colleagues is vital; they are your partners, so you need to be operating and seeing patients together, using equipment that local ophthalmologists will be using day to day
  • Don’t just show local ophthalmologists how to perform procedures – tell them when to operate and, often more importantly, when not to operate. The focus should be on mainstream cases, not extreme surgery and overly complicated procedures
  • Sustainable development is key – teach those colleagues who will be able to pass the knowledge on, and who can operate on large numbers of patients
  • Learn how to set up and operate all equipment, including microscopes and video systems – it will expedite surgery, teach optimal use, and send a non-elitist message
  • Put an emphasis on medical ethics and evidence-based medicine
  • Use reliable equipment – cheap machines are a false economy
  • Use disposables – they save money, provide consistent performance, and prevent infection and inflammation
  • Make sure post-operative care is not being neglected
  • Don’t use the trip as an opportunity to take pictures for building the image of your own practice
  • Use appropriate terms: avoid talking about a “mission” or “mentoring” – you are sharing information with equals.
  • Keep all political and religious views to yourself
  • It’s best to avoid mixing holidays, sightseeing opportunities or shopping trips with outreach projects
  • Avoid exchanging gifts – your money is better spent on equipment or supplies
  • If possible, don’t bring your team with you – work with local healthcare professionals and share your knowledge with all the OR staff
  • Bring books, handouts, copies of your talks on USB drives
  • Try to introduce local ophthalmologists to your industry contacts to facilitate acquisition of the necessary equipment
  • Organize further visits to the facility and invite your colleagues to visit your practice back home. Keep in touch via email and build long-lasting relationships

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About the Author

Steve Charles

Steve Charles is the founder and owner of the Charles Retina Institute, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

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