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Ophthalmology Workforce Projections in the United States, 2020 to 2035

Berkowitz, Sean T; Finn, Avni P; Parikh, Ravi; Kuriyan, Ajay E; Patel, Shriji
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE:To analyze ophthalmology workforce supply and demand projections from 2020 to 2035. DESIGN/METHODS:Observational cohort study using data from the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis (NCHWA). METHODS:Data accessed from the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) website were compiled to analyze the workforce supply and demand projections for ophthalmologists from 2020 to 2035. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES/METHODS:Projected workforce adequacy over time. RESULTS:From 2020 to 2035, the total ophthalmology supply is projected to decrease by 2650 full-time equivalent (FTE) ophthalmologists (12% decline) and total demand is projected to increase by 5150 FTE ophthalmologists (24% increase), representing a supply and demand mismatch of 30% workforce inadequacy. The level of projected adequacy was markedly different based on rurality by year 2035 with 77% workforce adequacy versus 29% workforce adequacy in metro and nonmetro geographies, respectively. By year 2035, ophthalmology is projected to have the second worst rate of workforce adequacy (70%) of 38 medical and surgical specialties studied. CONCLUSIONS:The HRSA's Health Workforce Simulation Model forecasts a sizeable shortage of ophthalmology supply relative to demand by the year 2035, with substantial geographic disparities. Ophthalmology is one of the medical specialties with the lowest rate of projected workforce adequacy by 2035. Further dedicated workforce supply and demand research for ophthalmology and allied professionals is needed to validate these projections, which may have significant future implications for patients and providers. FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE(S)/BACKGROUND:Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found in the Footnotes and Disclosures at the end of this article.
PMID: 37739231
ISSN: 1549-4713
CID: 5614082

Performance Assessment of an Artificial Intelligence Chatbot in Clinical Vitreoretinal Scenarios

Maywood, Michael J; Parikh, Ravi; Deobhakta, Avnish; Begaj, Tedi
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE:To determine how often ChatGPT is able to provide accurate and comprehensive information regarding clinical vitreoretinal scenarios. To assess the types of sources ChatGPT primarily utilizes and to determine if they are hallucinated. METHODS:A retrospective cross-sectional study. We designed 40 open-ended clinical scenarios across 4 main topics in vitreoretinal disease. Responses were graded on correctness and comprehensiveness by two blinded retina specialists. The primary outcome was the number of clinical scenarios that ChatGPT answered correctly and comprehensively. Secondary outcomes included: theoretical harm to patients, the distribution of the type of references utilized by the chatbot, and the frequency of hallucinated references. RESULTS:In June 2023, ChatGPT answered 83% (33/40) of clinical scenarios correctly but provided a comprehensive answer in only 52.5% (21/40) of cases. Subgroup analysis demonstrated an average correct score of 86.7% in nAMD, 100% in DR, 76.7% in retinal vascular disease and 70% in the surgical domain. There were 6 incorrect responses with 1 (16.7%) case of no harm, 3 (50%) cases of possible harm and 2 (33.3%) cases of definitive harm. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:ChatGPT correctly answered more than 80% of complex open-ended vitreoretinal clinical scenarios, with a reduced capability to provide a comprehensive response.
PMID: 38271674
ISSN: 1539-2864
CID: 5625242

Risk of Stroke, Myocardial Infarction, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Pulmonary Embolism, and Death After Retinal Vein Occlusion

Wai, Karen M; Ludwig, Cassie A; Koo, Euna; Parikh, Ravi; Mruthyunjaya, Prithvi; Rahimy, Ehsan
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE:To examine rates of stroke, myocardial infarction (MI), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and death in patients after retinal vein occlusion (RVO) compared to controls. DESIGN/METHODS:Retrospective cohort study. METHODS:An aggregated electronic health records research network, TriNetX, was used to identify patients with diagnosis of RVO and a control group of patients with cataract. Patients were excluded if they had history of stroke, MI, DVT, or PE within 2 years of diagnosis of RVO or cataract. Propensity score matching was performed to control for baseline demographics and medical comorbidities. Main outcomes included relative risk (RR) of death, stroke, MI, DVT, and PE after RVO compared to those in matched controls. RESULTS:A total of 45,304 patients were included in each cohort. There was elevated risk of death in the RVO cohort compared to the control cohort at 1 year (RR = 1.30, P < .01), 5 years (RR = 1.22, P < .01), and 10 years (RR = 1.08, P < .01). There was elevated risk of stroke at 1 year (RR = 1.61, P < .01), 5 years (RR = 1.31, P < .01), and 10 years (RR = 1.18, P < .01). There was elevated risk of MI at 1 year (RR = 1.26, P < .01) and 5 years (RR = 1.13, P < .01), but not at 10 years (RR = 1.06, P = .12). There was mildly elevated risk of DVT at 1 year (RR = 1.65, P < .01) but not at 5 years (RR = 0.94, P = .94) or 10 years (RR = 1.05, P = .37). There was no elevated risk of PE at 1 year (RR = 0.98, P = 0.80), 5 years (RR = 0.95, P = .42), or 10 years (RR = 0.85, P =.40). CONCLUSIONS:There is an increased rate of death, stroke, and MI after RVO compared to those in matched controls. We emphasize the need for long-term systemic evaluation after RVO.
PMID: 37660963
ISSN: 1879-1891
CID: 5613472

Risk of Stroke, Myocardial Infarction, and Death After Retinal Artery Occlusion

Wai, Karen M; Knapp, Austen; Ludwig, Cassie A; Koo, Euna; Parikh, Ravi; Rahimy, Ehsan; Mruthyunjaya, Prithvi
IMPORTANCE/UNASSIGNED:Patients with retinal artery occlusions (RAOs) are recommended to have emergent stroke workup, although the true risk of death and subsequent vascular events post-RAO is not clear. OBJECTIVE/UNASSIGNED:To determine short-term and long-term rates of stroke, myocardial infarction (MI), and death in patients after RAO compared with a control cohort. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS/UNASSIGNED:This retrospective cohort study used aggregated electronic health records from January 1, 2003, through April 14, 2023, from TriNetX, a network with data from more than 111 million patients. Patients with RAO and a cataract control group were identified and matched for age, sex, race, and comorbidities, including hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and smoking status. Patients were excluded if they had a stroke or MI within 2 years before the diagnosis of RAO or cataract. EXPOSURE/UNASSIGNED:International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, diagnosis code for RAO or age-related cataract. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES/UNASSIGNED:Rate of death, stroke, and MI at 2 weeks, 30 days, 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years after RAO compared with matched controls. RESULTS/UNASSIGNED:There were a total of 34 874 patients with at least 1 year of follow-up in the RAO cohort. The mean (SD) age at the RAO event was 66 (15.2) years. The rate of death after RAO diagnosis was higher than after cataract diagnosis at 2 weeks (0.14% vs 0.06%; relative risk [RR], 2.45; 95% CI, 1.46-4.12; risk difference [RD], 0.08%; 95% CI, 0.04%-0.13%; P < .001), 30 days (0.29% vs 0.14%; RR, 2.10; 95% CI, 1.49-2.97; RD, 0.15%; 95% CI, 0.08%-0.22%; P < .001), 1 year (3.51% vs 1.99%; RR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.61-1.94; RD, 1.41%; 95% CI, 1.17%-1.66%; P < .001), 5 years (22.74% vs 17.82%; RR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.23-1.33; RD, 4.93%; 95% CI, 4.17%-5.68%; P < .001), and 10 years (57.86% vs 55.38%; RR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.02-1.07; RD, 2.47%; 95% CI, 1.25%-3.69%; P < .001). Risk of stroke after RAO was higher at 2 weeks (1.72% vs 0.08%; RR, 21.43; 95% CI, 14.67-31.29; RD, 1.64%; 95% CI, 1.50%-1.78%; P < .001), 30 days (2.48% vs 0.18%; RR, 14.18; 95% CI, 10.94-18.48; RD, 2.31%; 95% CI, 2.14%-2.47%; P < .001), 1 year (5.89% vs 1.13%; RR, 5.20; 95% CI, 4.67-5.79; RD, 4.64%; 95% CI, 4.37%-4.91%; P < .001), 5 years (10.85% vs 4.86%; RR, 2.24; 95% CI, 2.09-2.40; RD, 6.00%; 95% CI, 5.50%-6.50%; P < .001), and 10 years (14.59% vs 9.18%; RR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.48-1.70; RD, 5.41%; 95% CI, 4.62%-6.21%; P < .001). Risk of MI after RAO was higher at 2 weeks (0.16% vs 0.06%; RR, 3.00; 95% CI, 1.79-5.04; RD, 0.11%; 95% CI, 0.06%-0.16%; P < .001), 30 days (0.27% vs 0.10%; RR, 2.61; 95% CI, 1.78-3.83; RD, 0.17%; 95% CI, 0.10%-0.23%; P < .001), 1 year (1.66% vs 0.97%; RR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.51-1.97; RD, 0.59%; 95% CI, 0.42%-0.76%; P < .001), 5 years (6.06% vs 5.00%; RR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.12-1.31; RD, 1.07%; 95% CI, 0.64%-1.50%; P < .001), and 10 years (10.55% vs 9.43%; RR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.04-1.21; RD, 1.13%; 95% CI, 0.39%-1.87%; P = .003). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE/UNASSIGNED:This study showed an increased risk of death, stroke, and MI in patients with RAO at both short-term and long-term intervals after RAO compared with a matched control population diagnosed with cataract. These findings suggest a potential need for multidisciplinary evaluation and long-term systemic follow-up of patients post-RAO.
PMID: 37883068
ISSN: 2168-6173
CID: 5613002

Reply [Letter]

Zhang, Casey; Friedman, Scott; Mruthyunjaya, Prithvi; Parikh, Ravi
PMID: 37642620
ISSN: 1549-4713
CID: 5618412

The Biosimilar Paradox: How Anti-VEGF Biosimilars will Increase Patient and Overall Healthcare Costs

Zhang, Casey; Friedman, Scott; Mruthyunjaya, Prithvi; Parikh, Ravi
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE:Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) medications for intraocular use are a major and increasing cost, and biosimilars may be a means of reducing the high cost of many biologic medications. However, a bevacizumab biosimilar, which is currently pending FDA approval (bevacizumab-vikg), may paradoxically increase the cost burden of intravitreal anti-VEGF, as "off-label" repackaged drug may no longer be allowed per the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA). We aim to investigate the potential impact of biosimilars on the health system and patient costs in the US. DESIGN/METHODS:Cost analysis of anti-VEGF medications. PARTICIPANTS/METHODS:Medicare data from October 2022, previously published market share data from 2019. METHODS:Average sales price (ASP) of ranibizumab, aflibercept, and bevacizumab are calculated from Medicare allowable payments. ASPs of biosimilars are calculated from wholesale acquisition costs from a representative distributor. The cost of an intraocular bevacizumab formulation is modeled at $500 and $900/1.25mg dose. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES/METHODS:Overall costs of anti-VEGF drugs to Medicare Part B and patients. RESULTS:If an intraocular bevacizumab biosimilar were to be priced at $500, costs to Medicare would increase by $457 million from $3.01 billion to $3.47 billion (15.2% increase). Patient responsibility would increase by $117 million from $768 million to $884 million. Similarly, if intraocular bevacizumab were priced at $900, Medicare costs would increase by $897 million to $3.91 billion (29.8% increase), and patient responsibility would increase by $229 million to $997 million. If bevacizumab were $500/dose, switching all patients currently on ranibizumab or aflibercept to respective biosimilars would only compensate for 28.8% of the increased cost. Current prices of ranibizumab and aflibercept biosimilars would have to decrease by an aggregate of 15.7% to $616.80, $1027.97, and $1436.88/injection for ranibizumab 0.3 mg, 0.5 mg, and aflibercept, respectively. CONCLUSIONS:An FDA-approved bevacizumab biosimilar for ophthalmic use could significantly increase costs to the healthcare system and patients, raising concerns for access. This increase in cost would not be offset by ranibizumab and aflibercept biosimilar use at current prices. These data support the need for an exemption of section 503B of the DQSA and continued use of repackaged off-label bevacizumab.
PMID: 37116720
ISSN: 1549-4713
CID: 5465612

Ophthalmologist Turnover in the United States: Analysis of Workforce Changes from 2014 through 2021

Patel, Prem N; Patel, Parth A; Sheth, Amar H; Ahmed, Harris; Begaj, Tedi; Parikh, Ravi
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE:Physician turnover is costly to health care systems and can affect patient experience due to discontinuity of care. This study aimed to assess the frequency of turnover by ophthalmologists and characteristics associated with turnover. DESIGN/METHODS:A retrospective cross-sectional study. PARTICIPANTS/METHODS:Actively practicing US ophthalmologists included in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Physician Compare and Physician and Other Supplier Public Use File between 2014 and 2021. METHODS:Using two separate publicly available Medicare data sets, we collated data for ophthalmologists associated with practices in each year between 2014 and 2021. We calculated the rate of turnover as (1) annually in each year window and (2) cumulatively as the total proportion of 2014 practices separated by 2021. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify physician and practice characteristics associated with cumulative turnover. Additionally, we evaluated changes in annual turnover surrounding the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES/METHODS:Ophthalmologist turnover, defined as a change of an ophthalmologist's National Provider Identifier practice affiliation from one year to the next. RESULTS:Of 13,264 ophthalmologists affiliated with 3,306 unique practices, 34.1% separated from at least one practice between 2014 and 2021. Annual turnover ranged from 3.7% (2017) to 19.4% (2018), with an average rate of 9.4%. Factors associated with increased turnover included solo practice (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 9.59, p<0.01), university-affiliation (aOR, 1.55, p<0.01), practice location in the Northeast (aOR 1.39, p<0.01), and practice size of 2-4 members (aOR, 1.21, p<0.01). Factors associated with decreased turnover included male gender (aOR, 0.87, p<0.01), and greater than 5 years of practice: 6-10 years (aOR, 0.63), 11-19 years (aOR, 0.54), 20-29 years (aOR, 0.36), and ≥30 years (aOR, 0.18) (p < 0.01 for all). In the initial year of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020), annual turnover grew from 7.8% to 11.0%, then fell to 8.7% in the pandemic post-vaccine period (2021). CONCLUSIONS:One-third of US ophthalmologists separated from at least one practice from 2014-2021. Turnover patterns differ by various physician and practice characteristics, the knowledge of which may prove useful when developing strategies to optimize future workforce stability. Because reasons for turnover cannot be solely determined using administrative data, further investigation is warranted given the potential clinical and financial implications.
PMID: 37164243
ISSN: 1549-4713
CID: 5509382

Financial Health of Private Equity-Backed Groups: Perspectives From Eye Care

Desai, Sarishka; Memon, Rohail; Chen, Evan; Patil, Sachi; Vail, Daniel; Konda, Sailesh; Parikh, Ravi
BACKGROUND:In private equity (PE) buyouts of medical practices, it is common for the PE firm to raise significant levels of debt in order to finance the purchase. This debt is subsequently shouldered by the acquired practice(s). There remains a scarcity of literature quantifying the effect of PE acquisition on the subsequent financial performance of eye care practices. We aim to identify and characterize debt valuations of ophthalmology and optometry private equity-backed group (OPEG) practices, which serve as an indicator of practice financial performance. METHODS:A cross-sectional study from March 2017 to March 2022 was conducted using business development company (BDC) quarterly/annual filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The 2021 BDC Report was used to identify all BDCs actively filing annual reports (Form 10-Ks) and quarterly reports (Form 10-Qs) in the United States in 2021. The public filings of BDCs lending to OPEGs were searched from the inception of the OPEG's debt instrument in a BDC's portfolio and the amortized cost and fair value of each debt instrument were tabulated. A panel linear regression was used to evaluate temporal changes in OPEG valuations. RESULTS: A total of 2,997 practice locations affiliated with 14 unique OPEGs and 17 BDCs were identified over the study period. Debt valuations of OPEGs decreased by 0.46% per quarter over the study period (95% CI: -0.88 to -0.03, P = 0.036). In the COVID-19 pre-vaccine period (March 2020 to December 2020), there was an excess (additional) 4.93% decrease in debt valuations (95% CI: -8.63 to -1.24, P = 0.010) when compared to pre-pandemic debt valuations (March 2017 to December 2019). Effects of COVID-19 on valuations stabilized during the pandemic post-vaccine period (February 2021 to March 2022), with no change in excess debt valuation compared to pre-pandemic baseline (0.60, 95% CI: -4.59 to 5.78, P = 0.822). There was an increase in practices that reported average discounted debt valuations from 20 practices (1.6%) associated with one OPEG to 1,213 practices (40.5%) associated with nine OPEGs (including 100% of newly acquired practices), despite the stabilization of COVID-19-related excess (additional) debt. CONCLUSIONS:Debt valuations of eye care practices have declined significantly post-PE investment from March 2017 to March 2022, suggesting that the financial health of these groups is volatile and vulnerable to economic contractions such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Eye care practice owners must consider long-term financial risks and impacts of subsequent patient care when selling their practice to a private equity group. Future research should assess the impact of secondary transactions of OPEGs on the financial health of practices, practitioner lifestyle, and patient outcomes.
PMID: 37384090
ISSN: 2168-8184
CID: 5540452

Presence of Choroidal Caverns in Patients with Posterior and Panuveitis

Begaj, Tedi; Yuan, Amy; Lains, Ines; Li, Ashley; Han, Samuel; Susarla, Gayatri; Parikh, Ravi; Sobrin, Lucia
Choroidal caverns (CCs) have been described in association with age-related macular degeneration and pachychoroid disease. However, it is unknown if caverns are found in patients with chronic non-infectious uveitis (NIU). Herein, we evaluated patients with NIU who had optical coherence tomography and indocyanine green angiography for CCs. Clinical and demographic characteristics were extracted from the chart review. Univariate and multivariate mixed-effects logistical models were used to assess the association between clinical and demographic factors and the presence of CCs. One hundred thirty-five patients (251 eyes) met the inclusion criteria: 1 eye had anterior uveitis, 5 had intermediate uveitis, 194 had posterior uveitis, and 51 had panuveitis. The prevalence of CCs was 10%. CCs were only observed in patients with posterior and panuveitis, with a prevalence of 10.8% and 7.8%, respectively. Multifocal choroiditis (MFC) was the type of uveitis where CCs were most frequently observed, with 40% of eyes with MFC having CCs. In addition, male sex (p = 0.024) was associated with CCs. There was no significant difference in the degree of intraocular inflammation or mean subfoveal choroidal thickness between CC+ and CC- eyes. This is the first study to describe CCs in uveitis. Overall, these findings suggest that caverns may be a sequela of structural and/or vascular perturbations in the choroid from uveitis.
PMID: 37238939
ISSN: 2227-9059
CID: 5543982

Comparison of Incremental Costs and Medicare Reimbursement for Simple vs Complex Cataract Surgery Using Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing [Comment]

Portney, David S; Berkowitz, Sean T; Garner, Desmond C; Qalieh, Adel; Tiwari, Vikram; Friedman, Scott; Patel, Shriji; Parikh, Ravi; Mian, Shahzad I
IMPORTANCE/UNASSIGNED:Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries across medicine and an integral part of ophthalmologic care. Complex cataract surgery requires more time and resources than simple cataract surgery, yet it remains unclear whether the incremental reimbursement for complex cataract surgery, compared with simple cataract surgery, offsets the increased costs. OBJECTIVE/UNASSIGNED:To measure the difference in day-of-surgery costs and net earnings between simple and complex cataract surgery. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS/UNASSIGNED:This study is an economic analysis at a single academic institution using time-driven activity-based costing methodology to determine the operative-day costs of simple and complex cataract surgery. Process flow mapping was used to define the operative episode limited to the day of surgery. Simple and complex cataract surgery cases (Current Procedural Terminology codes 66984 and 66982, respectively) at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center from 2017 to 2021 were included in the analysis. Time estimates were obtained using an internal anesthesia record system. Financial estimates were obtained using a mix of internal sources and prior literature. Supply costs were obtained from the electronic health record. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES/UNASSIGNED:Difference in day-of-surgery costs and net earnings. RESULTS/UNASSIGNED:A total of 16 092 cataract surgeries were included, 13 904 simple and 2188 complex. Time-based day-of-surgery costs for simple and complex cataract surgery were $1486.24 and $2205.83, respectively, with a mean difference of $719.59 (95% CI, $684.09-$755.09; P < .001). Complex cataract surgery required $158.26 more for costs of supplies and materials (95% CI, $117.00-$199.60; P < .001). The total difference in day-of-surgery costs between complex and simple cataract surgery was $877.85. Incremental reimbursement for complex cataract surgery was $231.01; therefore, complex cataract surgery had a negative earnings difference of $646.84 compared with simple cataract surgery. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE/UNASSIGNED:This economic analysis suggests that the incremental reimbursement for complex cataract surgery undervalues the resource costs required for the procedure, failing to cover increased costs and accounting for less than 2 minutes of increased operating time. These findings may affect ophthalmologist practice patterns and access to care for certain patients, which may ultimately justify increasing cataract surgery reimbursement.
PMID: 36892825
ISSN: 2168-6173
CID: 5459512