Tele-Ophthalmology NHS Wales 

Ebube Obi

Background to the Project

A significant number of patients cannot be cared for or monitored in the community, because not all optometrists have digitised slit lamps to send digital photos of the patient’s problem for clinicians to review remotely and offer advice. Additionally, there is no mutually agreed (Ophthalmologist & Optometrist) information portal for management of patients in the community/primary care versus secondary care. Furthermore, the majority of patients referred for surgery/therapeutic management, with problems affecting the front of the eye, are referred to secondary care without photographs of the problem. As a result, majority of these patients have to be seen directly.

 

The Project

This project aims to maximally implement unutilised technology and digitisation to optimally transform outpatient care and service delivery.

 

How will this be achieved

The project will enable optometrists who don’t have digital slit lamps to be able to access and utilise digital solutions in order to capture digital photos of anterior segment pathology to accompany all referrals to enable appropriate triage outcomes of these referrals. It will provide mutually agreed health care information in the community for optometrists, GPs and Patients, on what can be safely monitored and treated in the community and what needs to be referred into secondary care – via a new Tele-Ophthalmology website. It will also list patients for surgery directly from the community following a review of the digital photographs of the patient’s pathology in the referral as well as providing electronic patient information on the operation as well as electronic digital consent forms.

 

Anticipated benefits

Anticipated benefits include:

  • Improved efficiency of providing eye care both within the primary and secondary care settings.
  • Decreased waiting times for patients.
  • Improved health care outcomes for all patients.
  • Improved patient experience.
  • A better NHS green footprint.

It is also anticipated that if successful, this system could be upscaled and adopted for the whole of NHS Wales.