Initiatives at Glaucoma Australia have increased the charity’s ability to directly communicate with more people at risk of, or living with glaucoma.
“Our partnership with the Oculo referral platform has been integral to reaching more glaucoma suspects and patients,” explained Annie Gibbins, CEO of Glaucoma Australia. “Within six months of partnering with Oculo, we received 1,000 referrals and the numbers are increasing by the week.
“Strengthening relationships with Optometry Australia has resulted in 85 per cent of referrals now coming from optometrists, which is exciting as this allows the opportunity to provide education and support to the patient early in their glaucoma journey.
“As referrals grow via Oculo the website, brochures, contact cards and phone calls, plus relationships continue to grow with primary eye care providers, our resources will be stretched. To enhance scalability of our service provision, we have added a new level of automated communications to ensure patients being referred receive appropriate, timely information. From 2019, interested optometry students from Deakin, University of New South Wales, Queensland University of Technology and Melbourne University will commence volunteering for Glaucoma Australia as patient educator assistants.”
Glaucoma Australia’s patient support journey categorises people according to whether they are a suspect, newly diagnosed, diagnosed six to12 months or diagnosed more than 12 months.
Newly diagnosed patients and those identified as non-adherent with their treatment regime receive personal education and support from the organisation’s orthoptist educators, while others receive automated support and can contact the organisation for phone support as needed.
Support is also being offered via Facebook support groups, which are gaining momentum around the country. Conversations on the support sites are moderated by Glaucoma Australia orthoptist educators with support from optometrists and ophthalmologists.
In late 2018 Glaucoma Australia announced memorandums of understandings with the Centre for Eye Health and Lions Eye Institute. These ensure glaucoma patients being seen receive information about Glaucoma Australia’s services and are referred on for support. At the earliest opportunity.