Workflows within the ophthalmology department at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, New South Wales, have been “revolutionised” and the workplace culture significantly improved following the successful roll out of Zeiss Forum image management software.
The scalable ophthalmic data management solution has been designed to streamline practice workflows by connecting devices and providing access to all patient examination data.
The department within the major public hospital has a high volume workload, managing around 30,000 appointments each year, and upwards of 1,000 inpatients. This equates to roughly 130 patients per day.
Michael Cosstick, Chief Orthoptist in the Department of Ophthalmology at Westmead Hospital, says prior to the implementation of Forum, the department was hindered by the fact that its ophthalmic devices weren’t networked.
“Each device was operating in a standalone capacity with its own individual database. This presented ophthalmologists with great difficulty when trying to collate patient results over time,” said Mr Cosstick.
“Clinicians were having to print each scan that was being done at point-of-patient contact. After being reviewed by the ophthalmologist, the scans were then sent down to medical records (approximately 1,000 pages per week) for scanning into the electronic medical record. Once appearing in the medical records, the scans were often marked as poor quality and were difficult for doctors to interpret.”
It took several months for the Forum image management software to be implemented at Westmead, and required installation of new cables and ports in clinical rooms to enable devices to be connected to the hospital network.
“Once implemented, existing data from our devices was imported into Forum,” explained Mr Cosstick. “This included 30,000 patient images from the optical coherence tomographers (OCTs), and 96,000 Humphrey Field Analyser exams.
“The team from Zeiss was on site for go live in April, and for the following two weeks to assist me, and other eye clinic staff, with using Forum. I completed extra Forum training as the on-site supervisor, and additional training sessions were provided for other staff to better optimise their OCT and fundus photography skills using the Clarus.”
Mr Cosstick said Forum has made a “huge difference to workflow” in Westmead Hospital’s ophthalmology department.
“It has revolutionised the efficiency and accuracy of our clinical results. Suddenly, our scans are instantly being submitted to Forum and made available at the ophthalmologist’s computer.
“Orthoptists and nurses are no longer having to print out multiple sheets of paper for every test they do, and stick patient labels on them. When assessing a patient, they no longer have to type in a patient’s details, they merely select them off a worklist.”
Mr Cosstick added, “Ophthalmologists are no longer having to leave their consulting room to go and look at fundus photos or review an OCT. The time savings have been so tremendous that patients have been seen quicker, and clinics are now finishing earlier.”
With the frustrations that came with various print issues now behind them, Mr Cosstick says the team is working more efficiently and the workplace culture has noticeably improved.
“As the clinics have been running so smoothly, there’s been far less of a backlog when clinicians have needed to scan a patient. From my experience, staff have been working together efficiently and collectively on clinics. Completing the training that Zeiss put together on using our devices (and Forum itself) brought a unity amongst staff – everyone felt they were working together for a common cause… Ophthalmologists, nurses and orthoptists have embraced this piece of technology as one, and it’s truly revolutionised our clinic.”
The Westmead Hospital ophthalmology department has now incorporated Forum with its electronic medical record.
“Now, not only do our scans go instantly to Forum, but they are also uploaded into a patient’s file. This is critical for a patient’s holistic care within the hospital,” Mr Cosstick concluded.