For Tom Chang MD, educating and empowering patients is a critical part of his role as a physician.
As a clinician, surgeon, and educator, he has seen the importance that education plays in patient care.
Tom Chang MD is the managing partner of Acuity Eye Group, which grew from a single practice to 29 locations throughout Southern California. Chang has been a champion of patient education, making learning materials available and raising awareness about eye health issues.
Chang firmly believes that this advocacy for information is one of the best ways physicians and other health care workers can influence successful patient outcomes.
Tom Chang MD and the Impact of Patient Education
Patients rely heavily on medical professionals at every stage of care – from diagnostic testing to treatment to follow-up care. While patients are encouraged to participate in the decisions regarding their care, all too often, according to Tom Chang, they do not receive the education, insights, and resources for self-advocacy.
That lack of information hampers the physician-patient relationship and can hinder care. As an ophthalmologist, Chang encourages patients to be well informed and speak up. Patients often feel rushed during appointments or intimidated to speak up.
However, patients are critical in their own care, the first line of defense against serious eye-related illnesses. Patients often identify symptoms early that can lead to preventative action, for example, especially if they’ve been educated about what to look for.
Tom Chang MD on Early Action and Disease Prevention
Tom Chang MD encourages his patients to speak up about changes in their condition, what symptoms to look and how to practice self-care for good eye health. Those care regimens include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, limiting screen usage, getting enough sleep, and eating a diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals.
Many degenerative eye diseases do not present physical symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease. Hence, it’s important that patients have regular care, including annual exams and regular communication. These instances are opportunities for patients and physicians to get to know each other, build trust, and share information.
For Tom Chang MD, it’s critical to push out information to patients, both during visits and between appointments. That means having information available online, emails containing useful information, and available staff to answer submitted questions or consult on the phone.
A Life Devoted to Education and Care
Tom Chang MD earned his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Toronto Medical School and completed his residency at the University of Western Ontario. He completed three fellowships at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University (ophthalmic pathology), Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami (macular disease), and the Emory Eye Center at Emory University (vitreoretinal surgery).
He has served as an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of British Columbia and associate professor of ophthalmology at the Doheny Eye Institute.
In addition, he currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Retina Times, an associate editor of the journal Ophthalmology and on the editorial board of Evidence Based Eye Care.
Dr. Chang was part of the team that completed the first surgical implantation of stem cells to treat dry macular degeneration. He is a frequent lecturer, having given more than 120 lectures in 15 countries. He has written more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and serves on the advisory boards of multiple Fortune 500 companies. He is the former team ophthalmologist for the NBA’s Vancouver Grizzlies.