Last year we saw a significant rise in the number of enquiries from NHS areas keen to find out if we could help reduce Ophthalmology referrals. Why? Ophthalmology referrals to hospital eye services rose just over 12% from 2013/14 to 2017/18 and now account for just over 8% of outpatient appointments (NHS Digital).
A contributing factor to the rise in referrals can be attributed to the lack of access to advice and guidance for a large number of optometrists. Although a few of the larger High Street Optometrists have access to NHS.net, many of the smaller independents are not N3 certified and therefore have no direct access to specialist Advice & Guidance. The result is that a patient might be referred straightaway or the case shared with a GP who may try to fax a test result to their local hospital. This can have a significant delay on a referral.
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The Consultant Connect App is a game changer. It can be accessed from anywhere (mobile or PC) without the need for N3 certification, meaning it can be rolled out rapidly across independent Optometrists. The app is intuitive and easy to use – uploading Retinal Scans, Visual fields, OCT layers etc. can be done in under 2 minutes. Consultant Ophthalmologists can review either via an internet browser or their own device, ensuring a swift response time.
Consultants have been impressed by the ease of use, and expectations are that for general A&G, their response times will be akin to the sub 4 hour benchmarks set by teams in Dermatology. Another advantage is that Consultant Connect is an end to end solution, that doesn’t rely on any other infrastructure.
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