Communication and collaboration with GPs is crucial for offering the best standard of care to patients.
Awareness is part of the solution, but equally important is to ensure that communication with GPs is a seamless part of an optometrist’s routine and that the information is presented in a way that is useful for a GP to interpret.
Specsavers worked with its e-referral platform provider, Oculo, to automate GP eye reports for when patients present with ongoing or new conditions.
Shared-care of patients with diabetes has been an important aspect of GP eye reports as the RANZCO Referral Pathway for diabetic retinopathy suggests optometrists should communicate the results of diabetic retinopathy screenings to the patient and all physicians involved in their care (GP, endocrinologist, ophthalmologist) within 2 weeks. Given the strong association between diabetic retinopathy and systemic sequelae, such as peripheral neuropathy, the co-management of patients with diabetes is paramount, with the key to effective multidisciplinary care being communication between optometrists and GPs.
GP eye reports are also effectively being used for patients with other eye conditions including glaucoma and macular degeneration.
While the effect of enhanced and consistent communication with GPs on patient care is yet to be formally quantified, HealthHub will present this as a feature in the future.
Steps have been taken to track and measure the association between GP eye report communications sent from optometrists, and inbound referrals from general practitioners to optometrists, to better understand the effect of strong communication on patient care.
The next step is to measure the number of inbound referrals from GPs for patients who have diabetes to understand the influence that a unified approach to multi-disciplinary care has on enhancing detection of diabetic eye disease. The data will be shared on HealthHub in due course.