This access brings a much more joined up approach to eye care in Northern Ireland with optometrists now having sight of the underlying health issues a patient may have
L-R: Margaret McMullan, Clinical Optometric Adviser, Health and Social Care Board; Gavin Corrigan, Optometrist, Corrigan Opticians; Stephen Beattie, eHealth Programme Manager, Business Services Organisation; Nick Willox, Sales Director, Orion Health
Orion Health has announced the successful expansion of the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record (NIECR) to include community optometrists. For the first time, optometrists will now be able to access relevant aspects of a patient's electronic care record, including any medications they have been prescribed.
This access brings a much more joined up approach to eye care in Northern Ireland with optometrists now having sight of the underlying health issues a patient may have, such as diabetes, which could have a direct impact on their eye care.
"This expansion to include optometrists takes the NIECR further into the community and demonstrates what can be achieved when a project team thinks outside the box," commented Nick Willox, sales director for Orion Health. "We are delighted to have been part of this project in Northern Ireland and are looking forward to welcoming more user cohorts, such as dentists and medical students."
There are currently plans to enhance the information available to optometrists through an interface with various management systems used by ophthalmology sub-specialties e.g. the macular service and providing access to the diabetes screening report from the Northern Ireland Diabetic Eye Screening Programme (NI DESP). A care pathway for cataracts is also on the roadmap, to enhance multi-disciplinary team working across care settings around patients with the condition.
Gavin Corrigan, optometrist at Corrigan Opticians in Cookstown concluded, "It’s brilliant to have access to patient information through the NIECR. I can follow a patient’s journey through the hospital eye service from my initial referral through to any appointments and procedures they have carried out. This allows me a more informed and patient-centric approach to my decision making."