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Optometry Australia has announced it will soon be launching a new advanced online tool to support members in identifying and accessing relevant, quality continuing professional development to meet the Optometry Board of Australia’s new CPD requirements, due to come into effect from 1 December 2020.

CEO, Lyn Brodie said that since 2015 Optometry Australia has invested heavily in advanced digital infrastructure to support optometry CPD and recently brought all these digital components together when launching the new website.

“We are committed to creating a quality online destination to support our members educational requirements and we look forward to announcing more about this new initiative when we can”, Ms Brodie said.

In 2018, Optometry Australia entered the CPD market as a provider in its own right, to complement the comprehensive face-to-face offerings from the state organisations.

“We recognised our members had a need for short-format, but maximum impact programs and have started to bridge this by delivering a rolling program of member-only webcasts. Our webcasts typically generate over 800 registrants within a real-time CPD environment, and many more participate afterwards by accessing the webcast and assessment program via our website.

“We understand how important it is for members – many of whom are time poor – to be able to access quality and engaging education at a time that best suits them.

“The flexibility that online learning provides is so important within a sector such as ours, where it can be difficult to leave a practice during business hours to attend courses”, Ms Brodie said.

What CPD changes have the OBA announced? 

The Optometry Board of Australia announced today that continuing professional development requirements for registered optometrists will change from 1 December 2020.

The OBA’s announcement included the following key changes:

  1. CPD requirements will be measured in hours not by points
  2. CPD requirements will be considered annually rather than over a rolling two-year period:
  • All registered optometrists (with the exception of those with student or non-practising registration) will be required to complete at least 20 hours of evidence-based CPD annually and that contributes to improving professional competence.
  • Registered optometrists with an endorsement in scheduled medicines will be required to complete an additional 10 hours of CPD each year that relates to therapeutic practice.
  1. Optometrists will be required to complete a minimum of five of their 20 hours of CPD “in an interactive setting with other practitioners”. Optometry Australia is seeking clarity from the OBA on exactly what can be considered an ‘interactive setting’ but we anticipate that this will be similar to the current definition including standard lectures or ‘live’ webinars.
  2. A maximum five of the 20 hours of CPD undertaken by an optometrist may be non-scientific/non-clinical education relevant to optometry practice. This includes CPD related to optical goods and equipment.
  3. Optometrists will be required to maintain a portfolio which includes learning goals, planned CPD activities and is a reflection of how these activities are expected to improve (or have improved) their professional practice.

Requirements regarding CPR will not change. For re-registration optometrists will be required to have completed CPR training within the three previous registration periods.

For the 1 December 2018 to 30 November 2020 CPD period, all practising optometrists will be expected to meet current CPD requirements and the requirement to obtain 80 CPD points for that period will be maintained.

CPD clarity welcomed

Ms Brodie said that it was good to finally get clarity around how CPD will evolve after an extensive review process by the OBA.

“The changes that the OBA have announced bring optometry into alignment with other health professions as the majority have already moved from points-based to a self-learning-based system founded on hours.

“It also provides further recognition by the regulators of the significance of optometry within the health profession.

“We support these changes as we believe that they will generate better opportunities for optometrists to enhance their education,” Ms Brodie said.

She said that Optometry Australia is committed to ensuring its members can readily identify and access quality-assured CPD that meets their learning needs now, and after the changes to the CPD standard come into effect via the organisation’s soon to be launched new digital resource.

If you wish to discuss the changes to the OBA’s CPD standards and how they may impact you, please contact our Member Support team of optometrists on (03) 9668 8500 or via national@optometry.org.au.org.

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