Cardiff and Vale University Local Health Board awards £1m EPR contract for eye-care digitisation

NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership, acting on behalf of Cardiff and Vale University Local Health Board, has announced the awarding of a contract worth an estimated £1,183,936 for eye-care digitisation to support NHS Wales’ strategic ambition of providing care closer to home where possible and supporting people to maintain independence through reduction of sight loss.

The notice provided at the time stated that digitisation of eye services is an “essential enabler to improving integration” along with accessing and sharing information, with need for an electronic system to support referrals from optometry practices to hospital eye services. The EPR was to support shared care, avoid delay and duplication and provide secure access for optometry practices into the NHS Wales network, with NHS Wales specifying that the model needed to allow optometrists to enter patient data for those receiving shared care directly into the EPR as the prime source of data collection.

The contract was awarded to Toukaneyes, a health technology company focused on creating speciality clinical systems. The organisation’s website provides information on OpenEyes, an EPR for ophthalmology including features such as letter automation, audit reporting and anatomical diagrams.

It was originally awarded in January 2020 and is set to run for five years, with a potential extension of a further two years at the discretion of the Health Board. NHS Wales notes that the contract award is being shared now after the fact due to diversion of resources to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic at the time.

In September, we covered how Moorfields Eye Hospital and University College London have developed an artificial intelligence foundation model for ophthalmology, said to be capable of detecting markers of disease from retinal images and “can identify some of the most debilitating eye diseases across diverse populations”.

In March, we shared calls for “forward-thinking ophthalmic solutions” for NHS Scotland, with a package of support offered for those with “fresh ideas” in the area, including up to £25,000 of initial funding, regulatory support, project management and expert innovation support.

In other news from Wales, last month we covered the new digital and data strategy from Public Health Wales, and October also saw us report on the news that NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership awarded a contract to procure a primary care intelligence workforce system.