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Up Front | Sept/Oct 2023

Managing Change in the Digital Universe of Ophthalmology

“Change is the only constant.” – Heraclitus, Greek philosopher

We surgeons constantly make small changes in hopes of improving outcomes, efficiency, and the overall experience of all involved. Digital technology has become part of our diagnostic and therapeutic armamentarium. It allows us to provide efficient patient care with a smaller chance of error. Given the multitude of digital tools and platforms available, failing to embrace these advances would be a disservice to our patients. Reflecting on why some surgeons have not embraced the digital revolution led me to realize that the principles of change management are at play. A review of the process of change management within this context might therefore be valuable.


Involve stakeholders. Engaging technicians, optometrists, and supporting staff within an organization is crucial to initiating a change in process. Their buy-in is vital. By illustrating why a change is necessary (eg, the enhancement of patient care and alignment with organizational values) and emphasizing its positive impact (eg, increased patient satisfaction), we can build support and urgency for change.

Communicate and educate. We surgeons must be knowledgeable about available digital technologies and the processes involved in their use. We should lay out the details clearly and explain what is required and who will be involved at each stage. For example, implementing digital eye scans requires investments in both technology and training. Understanding the options and their consequences—including price, necessary equipment, and patient consent—is essential for both the surgeon and supporting staff.

Celebrate success. Celebration is often an overlooked aspect of change management. Recognizing success, however, can be a potent motivator to keep the process active and, in time, firmly establish it. Sharing positive outcomes and patient satisfaction from the adoption of digital techniques and appreciating stakeholders’ contributions can help solidify the change for the long term.

Monitor and review changes. Not every change leads to success. Mistakes can be made in the selection of technology, understanding of the digital process, or execution. Regular audits of what went right, what went wrong, and what might have been done differently promote continued success.

Thank you to all the authors who contributed to this issue. To the readership not fully involved in the digital universe of ophthalmology, I hope the insights shared inspire you to adopt some of the cutting-edge techniques and remember the principles of change management to make the process smoother. I wish you success with this exciting new frontier.

Sheraz M. Daya, MD, FACP, FACS, FRCS(Ed), FRCOphth
Chief Medical Editor