2018 Doug Perkins Medal for Australia winner: Specsavers Victor Harbor

Core to Specsavers Victor Harbor’s success is having “one amazing team with dedicated roles to help us achieve the best for our patients”, according to Optometry Partner Babara Vermeulen.

These dedicated roles are re-emphasised daily during the team’s morning huddles. Pre-test and clinic coordination roles have been critical in streamlining the store’s clinics and performing visual fields and other tests as indicated in an efficient way. Specsavers Victor Harbor’s newly appointed store supervisor has helped facilitate the smooth running of daily store operations and efficient patient journeys. The store has also been an early adopter of the Qudini appointment scheduling system.

Babara says all of these factors have played a part in enhancing the store’s clinical and retail outcomes for patients. She adds that the Specsavers Victor Harbor team is continually identifying opportunities for improvement. For example, the store’s optometrists have bi-weekly meetings to facilitate peer discussion of clinical cases and how the Specsavers Professional Benchmark Initiative reports can be used to enhance clinical outcomes. The patient journey and how it can be improved is also always top of mind.

“Demand for eye examinations at our store has grown 34% year to date, so as a team we reviewed areas we needed to work on to ensure we were providing the best care to our patients without leaving them waiting for long periods of time,” Babara says. “Each team member contributed heavily, and the feedback we have received on our store performance has proven that we are focussing on the right areas.”

Following the installation of new technology in-store, and the announcement that Specsavers will be participating in KeepSight, a new national diabetes eye screening program, the Specsavers Victor Harbor team has taken steps to increase awareness of the ways in which it can contribute towards improved eye health outcomes. In addition to launching consumer awareness campaigns about OCT and the importance of people with diabetes having regular eye checks, the team has been working to educate local healthcare providers on the store’s eye health services, sending letters to GPs and visiting specialist diabetes nurses.

The Specsavers Victor Harbor team has also joined forces with Moorundi, an organisation that helps the Aboriginal community identify affordable healthcare service providers, volunteering to assist with school screenings and eye tests, as well as with eye health education.

“This has been an amazing year of growth and development,” Babara comments. “With our OCT and new visual fields analyser, we can care for our patients like never before. This new technology has helped us diagnose and co-manage patients more effectively with our local ophthalmologists. We are so excited about these changes, and the increasing number of patients that are choosing to receive eye care at Specsavers Victor Harbor.

“The key factor in our clinical performance is our team and their contribution to each process that we’ve implemented this year. They have taken each opportunity with such a positive attitude, and they do the best they can for each patient that comes through the door. I’m so proud of this.

“Having all these changes has been hard, but as a team we have tried to provide consistent care and a positive clinical and retail experience for our patients. Above all, we are making time to help and care for our community by getting out there and raising awareness.”