19 October 2021

College of Optometrists publishes templates for hospital patient data collection

The College of Optometrists has created and published templates for the collection of minimum patient data in two areas of secondary care, refractive error and low vision.

Developed through expert working groups and consultation with hospitals, the datasets provide templates for the uniform collection of electronic data. By standardising what data to collect and in what format to do so, they can greatly help work to clarify and compare the regional and national eye health landscape.

Approved by The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and developed through their standard process, the datasets join those developed by the Royal College (which include cataract and retinal detachment) in creating a framework for secondary care data collection. The next phase is for their integration into electronic patient record systems, so that best practice can be turned into a reality.

Mike Bowen, Director of Research at The College of Optometrists, explains; “Currently, there is no standardised way of recording patient eye health data in secondary care settings. The absence of consistent data standards across secondary care settings makes it difficult for clinicians to audit their clinics effectively, or to compare the outcomes for patients in one area to those in another. This absence also makes public health research, which is designed to identify effective approaches and interventions as well as planning the future of eye care provision, hard or impossible to do and we hope this research will help overcome this issue.” 

Anthony Khawaja, Chair of the Informatics & Audit Group of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said “We are delighted that The College of Optometrists has undertaken work to support our minimum datasets standards and we fully endorse their contributions. Optometrists play a leading role in refractive error and low vision assessment in secondary care, and ensuring standards for data recording in these services will enable national audit and research for the benefit of our patients.”

The datasets follow previous work by The College of Optometrists to map gaps in primary care eye data and current work to support a nationwide data collection exercise, the UK National Eye Health and Hearing Study.

Contact the research team for more information.

Related further reading

Clinical Adviser for the College Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom on how to ensure a sustainable optometry workforce.

Clinical case studies can make a small but important contribution to the sum of clinical knowledge. Why do we need them, asks Kim Thomas, and how do you write one?

The College’s Clinical Editor, Jane Veys MCOptom, on rabbits in the headlights and royally good handovers