Leaders in eye health are celebrating a milestone achievement for Oculo – the Australian developed clinical communications and teleophthalmology platform – which has recorded its one millionth patient.
Described as a globally unique “game changer”, Oculo facilitates the secure, instant transfer of clinical imaging for referrals, screening and shared eye care.
Dr Kate Taylor, CEO and co-founder of Oculo said her team is “delighted” with the impact Oculo has had over the past four years on the quality and continuity of care.
Oculo is transforming eye care through its innovation and improvement of clinical communication
“With over 3,350 optometrists and 825 ophthalmologists using Oculo across Australia and New Zealand, Oculo is truly delivering on its mission statement of eye care connected,” she said.
Professor Jonathan Crowston, Oculo’s co-founder said, “Oculo was set up to smooth the patient’s journey among health care professionals and ensure that care providers have access to timely and reliable patient information and images. We are delighted that one million patients have now benefited from Oculo and enjoyed faster referrals and being looked after by better informed care providers”.
“In the beginning, we started with the premise we wanted to build something ‘better than a letter’. Early on, we surveyed optometrists and ophthalmologists and 70% said that the breakdowns in communication regularly compromised patient care,” reflected Dr Taylor. “When we repeated surveys in the US, 96% of optometrists and 69% of ophthalmologists reported the same problems.”
She continued, “Now, Oculo is more important than ever as we adapt to deal with the constraints imposed by COVID and the backlogs of patients needing care. In April, we accelerated to add HIPAA-compliant video conferencing to support teleophthalmology, teleoptometry and innovative ways to safely look after patients.”
Professor Keith Martin, Managing Director of the Centre for Eye Research Australia, commented, “CERA’s original vision was that Oculo would enhance eye care – in keeping with CERA’s mission – by streamlining digital communication between community and hospital eye care providers. Today, we congratulate Oculo on its remarkable success in passing the one million patient landmark in such a relatively short time. Looking ahead, while we’ve seen the power of collaboration between optometry and ophthalmology elsewhere, there is still much work needed to optimise the use of hospital and community resources for the benefit of all patients at risk of visual loss. We would love to see the public system across Australia embrace Oculo as part of that solution.”
Prof Nitin Verma, President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) said, “RANZCO supports models of collaborative care that are patient-centric and ophthalmology-led. Platforms such as Oculo assist with collaboration, innovation and quality improvement. We congratulate Oculo in reaching their milestone and in ensuring such high levels of engagement across ophthalmology and optometry.”
Ms Lyn Brodie, National CEO of Optometry Australia commented, “Access to quality eye care is critically important to ensure the overall health and well-being of the community. Enhancing collaborative care models through a platform such as Oculo, allows optometry, ophthalmology and patients to connect and achieve great outcomes. Optometry Australia congratulates Oculo on this milestone and a culture of continuing innovation and commitment to the eye health of all Australians.”
Prof Angus Turner of Lions Eye Institute remarked, “Oculo has changed the way optometrists and ophthalmologists collaborate caring for patients. With the advanced eye imaging available, it has been a huge step forward.”
Peter Larsen, Specsavers global Eye Health Strategy Director says, “Oculo is unique globally as a tool to fundamentally improve the quality of eye care. No other country has such a universally adopted platform which has step changed the quality of optometric communication with medicine. Oculo’s ability to immediately share critical clinical information including images directly benefits patients and protects practitioners. The additional insights that come from understanding outcomes longitudinally is unprecedented in its ability to enhance health systems. It’s an extraordinary contribution and achievement, which now offers the foundation to transform engagement with the public system.”
Peter Murphy, Luxottica Director of Eyecare & Community, says, “Luxottica Australia and New Zealand’s goal is to deliver premium clinical eye care, and Oculo has been a core part of raising the bar when it comes to inter-professional communication with our healthcare colleagues and co-management of our patients. Oculo is transforming eye care through its innovation and improvement of clinical communication, including sharing critical images with ophthalmologists to save time and improve the quality of care.”
Professor Greg Johnson, CEO of Diabetes Australia, praised Oculo’s contribution to the idea and development of KeepSight, saying, “ Oculo brought technical leadership, vision and passion to improve eye care in Australia. We’ve seen them work tirelessly with KeepSight to fundamentally change how we protect the vision of people living with diabetes in Australia. It will be tremendous to see the impact of our efforts in the years to come.”
“Oculo has been a game changer for digital patient referrals, and this achievement deserves significant celebration. Thousands of patients have now been referred directly to their patient support organisation, and this represents good news for improving patient appointment and treatment adherence outcomes” added Annie Gibbins, CEO Glaucoma Australia.
Dr Taylor concluded, “I am so proud to have the chance to recognise the wonderful Oculo team and their dedication to patient care and their unfailing attention to privacy and data security, as well as their commitment to delighting Oculo users.”