Ergonomics at VEI - Virginia Eye Institute

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Ergonomics at VEI


When your staff is comfortable, your patients are too. With this in mind, Virginia Eye Institute asked The Ergonomics Center of North Carolina (ECNC) to evaluate ergonomic concerns within our work environment.

What is Ergonomics?

According to the ECNC, ergonomics is “the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance”.

Ergonomics Findings

Jeff Hoyle, the Director of Ergonomic Services for the ECNC, and his team visited both the Huguenot Bridge and Reynolds Crossings locations to collect data. To help data be as specific as possible, the ECNC team divided VEI staff into four categories:

  1. Ophthalmologists
  2. Optometrists
  3. Imaging Specialists
  4. Technicians

ECNC then did a deep-dive evaluation of each staff category. The findings were significant. Imaging specialists had a total physical ergo concern score of 28/40, which is considered high. Optometrists and clinical-side Ophthalmologists both scored 24/40, which is considered moderate. Technicians were marked at 22/40, which is also considered moderate.

After assessing the workplace and staff, ECNC provided recommendations to improve the ergonomics of the office. These recommendations include replacing current office equipment, training staff on how to comfortably treat patients, and increasing ergonomic awareness in the workplace.

Ergonomic training can prevent injuries, both short term and long term. A shocking 52% to 94% of eye physicians have reported prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms. Let’s do our best to stay aware of ergonomic concerns within the workplace and keep ourselves unencumbered.

Brad Smith, CEO, commented, “After speaking with several associates about the ergonomic challenges associated with Optometry and Ophthalmology, we commissioned the Ergonomics Center at NC State University to study the issues. As a result, a video production was created, featuring many of the VEI associates, to help educate staff about proper and ergonomically sound techniques and to add an entertaining spin on the topic.” 

Watch the video below!

VEI would like to thank the Ergonomics Center of North Carolina, our CEO Bradley Smith, MBA, FACHE, FHFMA, CMPE, COE and Rhonda Ullom, COMT, FCLSA, OSC, OCS, OCSR for making this ergonomics project possible. Dr. Ullom presented this as part of a lecture she gave for the annual Kentucky Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology, KATPO, meeting on February 6, 2021. She has been asked to present this lecture at the up-coming Spring VSOMP meeting scheduled for June, 2021. The ergonomics evaluation did more than bring VEI into OSHA compliance, it set a cutting-edge standard for ophthalmology practices.

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