Image capture on smartphone for primary care to improve referral refinement

Royal United Hospitals Bath serves comprehensive ophthalmic care to a population of approximately 500,000 residents across Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire, Somerset, and South Gloucestershire.

Situation

Urgent eye care services within Royal United Hospitals Bath have seen significant increases in patient numbers over recent years, making it difficult to provide enough capacity to match the demand. In conjunction ophthalmologists reported increasing dissatisfaction with the quality of referrals from primary care, particularly from general practice.

Non-ophthalmologists report poor confidence with eye examination, particularly the use of the direct ophthalmoscope. In addition, many urgent eye problems are related to problems with the front of the eye, also known as the anterior segment. These ideally need a slit-lamp examination using equipment not available in most GP practices.

Aspiration

To improve referral quality and referral confidence with an easy-to-use anterior segment eye image capture attachment for smartphone devices. This in turn would avoid both unnecessary referrals and trips to hospital for patients during COVID-19.

Solution and impact

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Royal United Hospital Bath has started to adopt a smartphone-based lens attachment called QuikVue to improve the quality of urgent eye care service referrals for anterior segment-related complaints. This has increased hospital clinic appointment capacity by 19% through advice and guidance, meaning an appointment was not required in many more cases compared with the previous telephone triage service. This has also led to a perceived increase in confidence in the quality of referrals and increased satisfaction for both ophthalmologists and patients.

Functionality

QuikVue is a smartphone adapter which allows high quality anterior segment eye photos to be taken to aid referral to ophthalmologists.

Capabilities

  • High quality anterior segment imaging
  • Easy attachment to smartphones

Scope

  • Can take high quality clinical photos for improved eye care referral refinement
  • When linked to a compatible video platform the referrer can share high quality clinical images with the hospital eye service in real time

Key figures/quotes 

“A simple, low-cost smartphone lens attachment can provide high quality imaging with significant clinical utility that has the potential to improve the quality of referrals to the hospital eye service, reduce the number of unnecessary clinic appointments, and optimise the triage process for eye casualty referrals, particularly in a time where fewer appointments are available to patients as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Jonathan Luck, consultant ophthalmologist, Royal United Hospital Bath

Find out more

Find out more on the VisuScience website

Key contact

Jonathan Luck, consultant ophthalmologist

jon.luck@nhs.net

Sunil Mamtora, specialty registrar (ST4)

s.mamtora@nhs.net