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NHSX tests market on digital solutions for eyecare


Mark Say Managing Editor


NHSX is sounding out suppliers on the prospects for new digital solutions to support optometry services.

Close-up of eye

It has published an information notice directing interested firms to a questionnaire with the aim of understanding the current maturity of the market.

The exercise is being run as part of NHSX’s Pharmacy, Optometry, Dentistry, Ambulance and Community (PODAC) programme.

The notice indicates that, while the engagement is simply an information gathering exercise, it will help to inform the PODAC commercial strategy and any future procurement.

“The project aims to understand the availability of solutions that can support NHSX to further digitise optometry services by enabling optometrist services to connect with each other more effectively and with other healthcare providers, right along the wider health and care systems,” the notice says.

“This will in turn increase the transparency and access to services and enable better communications between clinical teams and services, ultimately improving patient experience and pathway performance.”

It highlights a number of digital developments for optometry, including an increase in remote consultations for eyecare during the Covid-19 pandemic, the introduction of a dynamic purchasing system agreement for electronic eyecare referral systems, and the sharing of OCT (optical coherence tomography) images with integrated care systems.

The notice also outlines plans including an expansion of the image sharing capability, the digital transfer of relevant information into patient records for a wider range of services and pathways, and the development of blueprints for digital eyecare hubs as part of the National Eye Care Recovery and Transformation Programme.

Image from iStock, Spainter vfx


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