Over £8.5m is to be invested to create a new Electronic Patient Record and digital Electronic Referral system for eye care in Wales, the first national system of this kind.
The new patient digital systems will help to underpin our plans published today to highlight the future approach to optometry services in Wales. The importance of preventative measures, together with management and treatment by primary care optometrists are a key focus of our plans. The future approach supports the Welsh Government’s A Healthier Wales strategy of delivering care in the community and closer to people’s homes.
£4.8 m will be invested in a cloud-based system to modernise the referral and monitoring of patients with eye conditions and improve patient outcomes. The system will give hospital Ophthalmologists and community Optometrists access to shared clinical information to monitor eye health and provide shared care. It will support patient care in both hospital and community settings (high street opticians) as part of a single connected approach. £3.506m of the funding will be used to replace existing IT hardware used in hospitals and primary care settings.
The Hospital Eye Service accounts for 10% of all outpatient appointments in Wales and is now the busiest outpatient specialty. With an ageing population the prevalence of eye disease such as glaucoma and age related macular degeneration is expected to rise by 30-40% over the next 20 years. These changes highlight the importance of having a digitally integrated eye care service to ensure that care can be provided for patients at the right time and in the right place.
The project, being led by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, has already commenced roll out across Wales.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, said: “Eye care services in Wales are very much leading the way and our plans for the future approach to optometry outlines how we can continue to progress and innovate. Central to its development is the new digital patient record and electronic referral platform, which will modernise the delivery of eye care treatment and enhance patient experience and outcomes.”