Electronic referral service for community opticians launched in Coventry and Warwickshire

A new system-wide electronic referral service for community opticians has been launched across Coventry and Warwickshire, enabling opticians to send referrals for patients in need of further investigation or treatment to a single point of access in the Coventry and Warwickshire Ophthalmology Co-ordination Service (OCS).

Previously, opticians would be required to send the referral to a patient’s GP for processing; instead, through the new system, the OCS manages incoming referrals, with patients contacted and offered choice regarding where they can access treatment. As of mid June, 23 optician practices in the area were using the Electronic eye Referral System (EeRS), with plans for more practices to adopt the system as the summer progresses.

Coventry and Warwickshire ICS has shared expectations that EeRS will bring “significant benefits” for patients and staff, including more choice for patients; enhanced patient safety and quality of care; and improved communications between primary and secondary care. Additionally, the system will allow the referring optician to attach relevant imaging and test results to a referral which can then be used to support diagnosis, without the need for further photographs or scans to be taken.

“The team was originally apprehensive about the change over to the new portal, but within the first day we had excellent feedback as we found the new interface extremely easy to use,” shares an optometrist in Leamington Spa, where EeRS has already been implemented.

In other news around digital healthcare and eye care, May saw HTN report on a collaboration between South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle University and Roche Products Limited, which aims to explore how artificial intelligence can be used to support treatment for diabetic retinopathy.

In the spring, we also highlighted West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership’s launch of new website focusing on eye health, with the aim of increasing awareness and prevention around eye care and “looking at eye care as a lifetime journey”.

Other news from Coventry and Warwickshire, meanwhile, includes an EPR go-live at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust in June.