The value and importance of evidence-based practice (EBP) in healthcare has been advocated for some time, including in optometry. The EBP Optometry collaborative project aimed to ensure that optometry graduates have the skills and knowledge needed to be evidence-based practitioners. The project developed an online resource for EBP learning & teaching and embedded EBP education into curricula via changes to entry-level competencies for optometrists in Australia. An example of EBP embedding in the UNSW Optometry Programme will be shared. Optometry specific tools to measure attitude, knowledge and skills in EBP developed and validated for use by optometry educators and practitioners are summarised. A mixed method approach where the appropriateness of eyecare delivery in Australia (iCareTrack study) was measured and key barriers to evidence-based eyecare identified is presented. The perspectives of multiple stakeholders (i.e. practitioners, patients, other) for diseases that include preventative care, glaucoma, diabetes, and macular diseases will be summarised. Future research where a theory-based approach will help explain these barriers and develop implementation strategies to improve eyecare delivery will be briefly described.
Dr Isabelle Jalbert is Associate Professor and Deputy Head of School at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, as well as Associate Dean International and Engagement for the Faculty of Science at UNSW Sydney. Isabelle is an optometrist and public health practitioner who teaches Anterior Eye Therapeutics to UNSW optometry students. She received the 2018 UNSW Science Faculty Award for Teaching Innovation. Isabelle’s research focuses on evidence-based eye care and the ocular surface. She uses mixed method approaches to measure and understand the factors that impact eye care practitioners’ knowledge and their ability to deliver the best eye care possible. Dr Jalbert has authored more than 55 refereed papers and supervised more than 60 research students including 11 PhD. She is Associate Editor for the scientific journal Clinical Experimental Optometry and currently serves on the Board of Director of the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand. She was the 2015 June Griffith fellow and a past recipient of the international Garland Clay from the American Academy of Optometry and the Dallos research Awards from the British Contact Lens Association.