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

Here we summarise three research papers from a recent issue of Optometry in Practice.

This article provides practical tips for assessing and managing eye health in people with varying degrees of hearing loss.

As our Editor in Chief steps into a new role, we look at how hospital clinics and practices coped with the pressures of the pandemic, and how we can provide services tailored to patients' needs.