Should have gone to CHFT! Transforming eye care.

Our Ophthalmology team have been pioneering a new online portal to receive direct referrals from Community Optometrists leading to a faster service for patients.

The portal has been developed by Louise Corp, Karnesh Patel and Rubina Rahman in partnership with THIS web development colleagues, Andrew Pheasey and Rebecca Wooton. (pictured)

Initially launched in December 2018, the live portal has allowed community Optometrists to send in direct emergency referrals to the hospital eye service ensuring daily triage and allocation of an appointment.

The last 12 months have involved further advancements to the portal, including the ability to send in routine referrals to all sub-specialties within Eye Care Services (including Orthoptics and Optometry) and an online triage facility to ensure patients are booked into the most appropriate pathway and receive a sub-specialty clinic assessment at their first attendance avoiding unnecessary follow-ups.

The portal ensures Optometrists input the required information and data improving quality and legibility of referrals along with diagnostic tests results and images of the eye undertaken in the community. The department has recruited a team (including Doctors, Orthoptists and Nurse Practitioners) who collectively will ensure all emergency referrals are triaged ‘on the day’ and ‘routine’ within 72 hours of receipt, determining whether the suspected condition is urgent or non-urgent. The portal will keep the referrer inform throughout the process sending them acknowledgement emails of receipt, triage outcome and appointment booking details.

The department’s referral portal has gained interest from NHSX, NHS England and the WYAAT Elective Care Programme and the team are keen for it to be considered as a local or national option. NHSX which oversees all digital healthcare developments for NHS England have been to the Trust to see the work and supported a recent engagement event held at Acre Mills Out-patients on November 28th 2019.

Louise Corp, General Manager for Eye Care Services, said: “We are very pleased for our patients and local Optometrists that we are able to offer this service. By providing an alternative to traditional referral methods, reducing unnecessary outpatient appointments and being able to offer a more streamlined approach will enable effective care for our patients.”

The team would like to thank colleagues within the local CCGs and local Optical Committee for their support, feedback and partnership working on this project.