Digital Healthcare’s software ‘first’ for national diabetic eye screening programme

05 Mar 2014

Digital Healthcare is the first supplier to widely roll out software that will enable clinicians to comply with new protocols for managing the early identification and treatment of patients at risk of sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy.

The latest version of OptoMize, already used by over 80% of screening programmes in England, is due to be adopted by all Digital Healthcare customers by May 2014. It will allow them to comply with the NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme’s new Common Pathway screening requirements.

The new pathway is the biggest change to clinical working practice in diabetic eye screening since it was first introduced in 2007.

Kevin McDonnell, Managing Director of Digital Healthcare - part of EMIS Group - said:

“Significant changes to screening processes, digital surveillance requirements, grading protocols and reporting structures have put increased pressure on clinicians and screening delivery administrators.

Estimates suggest that diabetic eye screening already saves more than 400 people in England from sight loss every year. McDonnell said: “The figures demonstrate how important screening services are, and with the number of people in Britain suffering from diabetes expected to reach 4.4 million by 2020, the need to ensure such services can continue to operate efficiently and effectively is clear.”

This latest version of OptoMize also features over 50 enhancements requested by clinicians, including an entirely new system for managing high risk patients referred with clinically significant pathology. It will also support programmes in adopting ‘features-based grading’ and the management of patients requiring surveillance, rather than referrals, under the new screening structure.

Reporting and analytical tools, which can be customised, have also been enhanced to support the information needs of both local screening programmes and the National Screening Programme.

Dr John Hosker, from Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospitals’ NHS Foundation Trust, is one of the first clinicians to adopt the new software and comply with the Common Pathway. He said: “We have been pleased to be early adopters of the OptoMize V4 software to support our local implementation of the new National Common Pathway for Diabetes Eye Screening.

“The Common Pathway reduces unnecessary referrals to Hospital Eye Clinics and allows more patients to be kept within the eye screening environment. This facilitates addressing the background risk factors which are the root cause of diabetic eye disease. Features-based grading allows more precise grading of eye images with more reproducible results. This all contributes to preventing loss of sight among the 19,000 people with diabetes in our local Doncaster community.”