Community Optometrists in Gloucestershire can now access patients’ medical eye health information and images via one centralised database, thanks to a new system launched by the NHS in Gloucestershire.

The system, OphthalSuite Community Ophthalmic Link, developed by BlueWorks OIMS, is the first of its kind in the country, enabling community optometrists to access patient’s eye health records quickly and securely.

With patient consent, Optometrists will now be able to access secondary care (hospital) eye examination results in real-time, and search information and statistics, including comparing all exams and ophthalmic imaging taken over different periods. Optometrists also have access to view patient’s ophthalmology data including photos, scans, videos, metadata, GP letters and care plans.

Access to this array of patient imaging, exams, diagnoses, and treatment plans allows the Community Optometrist to make a thoroughly informed clinical decision for their patient. The benefits are wide ranging, but ultimately ensures any referral and management is accurate, benefitting the patient and the eye service as a whole.

Scott Vallance, Ophthalmic Imaging Manager at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “By joining up a patient’s full eye health history in this way we are already seeing better quality referrals to hospital services.

The ability to access results in real-time will help to prevent any delays with getting patients the right care and access to the appropriate service.”

Dr Graham Mennie, from NHS Gloucestershire and clinical lead for the eye health programme, added: “We are very proud to be leading the way on a joined-up approach to eye health.

This scheme has been a collaboration across the partners and providers in Gloucestershire’s healthcare system and we are delighted to be able to roll it out county-wide.”