A moment in time with the Dry Eye Queen- Patti Barkey, COE

AL9_0194 (534x800)

I personally owe much to Patti Barkey, as we have been friends for 20 years, she recommended that I become a recruiter, and was my very first client. These last 14 years, I worked on my recruiting business, and Patti on so many aspects of eye care. Patti took a moment to chat with me about her career, which is such an inspiration to us all.

How did you get started in this industry?

Patti Barkey: [PB] My love of eyes started as a medical assistant over 30 years ago. From that opportunity I immersed myself in each aspect of the practice, billing, scrubbing, optical then into administration. I have had the fortune of working with experts in the field and studied each area of the practice to become more than knowledgeable.  At this point in my career I can visit each department, listen, learn and provide solutions to each member of our team.

While 38 years is a long time, it’s not about tenure. For me it’s about what you do with that time… I have grown through being curious, finding the best solutions, and being willing to learn through the resources offered – we offer that to our staff and to the Dry Eye University.

What inspires you at work?

[PB]The growth of the practice is what inspires me. To see the successes and to work with the best Ophthalmologists in the Nation, the relationships within the eye care community, setting new goals and seeing the outcomes.

Even today, I marvel at the progress we have made as a practice. Having support of the Medical Director makes being the CEO easy, we can create a plan and implement it within a week.

What keeps you motivated?

[PB] A large part of what keeps me motivated is seeing the outcomes, the successes for the patients and for the team. Having a solid infrastructure in place is essential.  As we achieve those successes, we all ask, “what more can we do?” and raise the bar.

In my lifetime, there will not be another disease in eye care that can have such a profound impact on a patient and a practice. Here was a need and no real direction for implementing Dry Eye Disease management into the practice. Being curious, I researched the present solutions working closely with vendors and utilizing my own patient flow knowledge. I laid the foundation and many practices have followed from there.

How was Dry Eye University started?  

[PB] As Bowden Eye became known for the level of excellence in dry eye, many colleagues visited our clinic to see how we implemented our team and the resources.  Asking the same questions to each I found that the level of education was different with Physician and Administrator, indicating a need for more education than a morning visit. We asked – how can we create a program that makes sense for others to learn? I made a conscious decision that we needed to start from the bottom and move up, making Dry Eye University a comprehensive program which could be templated into a practice.

That is an excellent Segway ! The moniker, Dry Eye Queen. – In my research I spoke with Dr Bowden, Dr Robben, Dr Bardandi, vendor representatives as well to understand where the title came from. It was impressive to hear the accounting from each perspective. From the vendor level, Bruny Ocasio spoke that you were approached at a stage when dry eye was not funded, and you embraced the technology, and began to implement the technology into your practice within 1 week. Dr Bowden raved about your knowledge, from diagnostics, to treatment protocol as well as creating the infrastructure to make all the knowledge work in every practice. Dr Darbandi - “she made it possible for us to get where we needed to be in dry eye care, by upholding the standards”, and Dr Robben; (whom I could talk to all day) said “all the vendors had a program, and each have a specific outcome that works, what Patti did is combine all of them into a process that makes sense and doesn’t overwhelm the Physicians, patients or the support staff. Patti sees patient care as coming first and patient education second. Excellence is in her blood.”

[PB]“I am honored daily to work with the Bowden Eye staff and providers. Everyone has a role, mine gets to be the leader of excellence”.

 What do you see as dry eye challenges eye care practices face today? 

[PB] All practices are different and it’s hard to bring in something new since uniformity is difficult. Everyone has to agree to a standard of care. If there is no standard of care, no program will be successful. That makes it most important to have the Physician and administrators on the same page and is a large reason we have put together Dry Eye University.

As to Dry Eye management; who do you learn from? Read the journals, talk with sales representatives, and vendors whom have their own opinions but ultimately don’t see the full function in a practice? We have developed what works, what does not and found solutions to streamline the process.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a practice?

[PB] Ask why haven’t you added dry eye? You haven’t done your patients any favors.The dry eye patient has more value than the cataract patient. If you are doing it for money it’s the wrong reason. A successful practice will view dry eye as part of the developing culture that is really coming to light through patient education and outcomes.

To learn more about Dry Eye University, please visit www.dryeyeuniversity.com

Many thanks for their time and help: Frank Bowden, MD, Bruny Ocasio, Sarah Darbandi, MDJerry Robben, OD and Patti Barkey for her time, talent and energy to make the eye care world better one eye at a time..

No Comments

Add a comment