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HomeminewsGlaucoma Australia Launches Referral Response Intervention

Glaucoma Australia Launches Referral Response Intervention

A new intervention and education program, designed to increase adherence to glaucoma management plans and reduce vision loss, has been developed by Glaucoma Australia in consultation with the eye care industry.

Annie Gibbins, CEO of Glaucoma Australia said, “The first few months in my new role as CEO have been spent reviewing what, when, why and how Glaucoma Australia collaboratively works with eye health professionals and patients to eliminate glaucoma blindness. The opportunity to fully engage collaborative partnerships, technology and consumer feedback to drive future excellence in service provision has been top of mind”.

“The tragic 50 per cent undiagnosed and 40 per cent non-adherent statistics need a proactive patient centred intervention, which captures powerful data and drives future change. If every patient diagnosed with glaucoma is not being actively supported by Glaucoma Australia, we have much work to do,” added Ms. Gibbins.

Following an extensive consultation and feedback period with key allied stakeholders from optometry, ophthalmology and pharmacy, an innovative and collaborative program of support has been created, offering personalised education and support targeted at critical, high risk periods throughout the patient journey.

“Glaucoma Australia is harnessing digital technology and smart electronic referral systems to promote screening for at-risk individuals, linking patients with support services and education resources. This ground breaking work should impact detection rates, patient knowledge, reduce anxiety and improve treatment participation” said Dr. Simon Skalicky, Chair of Ophthalmology Committee Glaucoma Australia.

Oculo Prompts Patient Enquiries

Glaucoma Australia’s recent partnership with Oculo is resulting in a new influx of patient support enquiries. Estimates anticipate up to 25,000 referrals could be made annually, hence an automated digital platform is currently being developed to ensure the quality of service provision is world leading. When a patient attends an optometrist who uses Oculo to refer glaucoma patients to an ophthalmologist, they are also given the opportunity to refer their patient to Glaucoma Australia as part of a collaborative care pathway. Once consent has been provided, Glaucoma Australia’s orthoptist educator offers phone and electronic education and support, tailored to the individual patient diagnosis and stage in their patient journey.

Non Oculo practices can simply ask their patients to visit www.glaucoma.org.au and click on ‘join our community’ to activate the same patient support journey. Practice managers can do this with the patient before they leave as it only takes a minute.

“As optometry continues to detect glaucoma in increasing numbers, it becomes ever more important that we involve Glaucoma Australia in the care of these patients. Glaucoma Australia has invested in new systems that are already aiding glaucoma suspects and patients with glaucoma. The important first step for patients identified as needing an ophthalmologist review is to register the patient with Glaucoma Australia at the time of referral so they can benefit from these services,” said Dr. Ben Ashby, Chair of Optometry Committee Glaucoma Australia.

Trial Provides Useful Data

A recent trial of the new patient support journey, with 200 patients, has indicated where intervention and education is required. Contact from Glaucoma Australia pre and post consultation and at five months post diagnosis, is aimed at increasing appointment and treatment adherence rates. Strategic interventions, both by phone and email, are now targeted toward improving education and support from the point of diagnosis and throughout the patient journey.

Interestingly, new data has indicated patients need significant education and support around their personal treatment regimes, specifically eye drop application and technique, laser, MIGS, trabeculectomy and living with glaucoma.1 New patient centred support resources are being developed and are now mapped to the four specific stages of the patient journey – diagnosis, starting treatment, adherence and ongoing management.

The recent increase in patient interactions has allowed Glaucoma Australia to extend the impact of its ‘glaucoma runs in families’ campaign that will hopefully result in more optometrist referrals by family members. Complementing this, the recent increase in the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) by optometry will hopefully increase the accuracy and rate of early detection.

“A collaborative pathway between optometry, ophthalmology and Glaucoma Australia provides the best framework for eliminating glaucoma blindness. It is ideal to educate and support a patient from the point of their initial diagnosis as it is from here that proactive eye health awareness will save sight,” said Ms Gibbins.
As the patient support journey continues to grow and be refined, it will have the capacity to drive exciting new research in a breadth and depth never previously captured from an Australia-wide perspective.

Ongoing funding, through bequests, corporate and private donations will amplify the footprint this new patient support journey can provide. Ms. Gibbins said enquiries are welcome from those interested in making a significant impact in eliminating glaucoma blindness across Australia.

1. Skalicky, S et al. Glaucoma Australia educational impact study: a randomized short-term clinical trial evaluating the association between glaucoma education and patient knowledge, anxiety and treatment satisfaction, 2017