Coming soon – the new Eye-care Electronic Referral System

1 December 2022

In Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin we will soon be launching electronic eye-care referrals between optometrists and ophthalmology service providers.

The new IT platform, called the Eye-care Electronic Referral System (EeRS) has been procured by NHS England and will launch across the Midlands next year. It will replace traditional paper referrals, such as letters and fax, and allow health professionals to easily make a referral and share important patient information.

Across our eye-care services, we currently have a range of referral arrangements in place - these are a mixture of inherited systems and individual processes used by different service providers. This leads to inconsistencies in cases being accepted, and varied waiting times and patient experiences.

By introducing a new electronic referral system for eye-care services, we aim to improve the experience of our patients and staff across primary, community and secondary care.

Benefits to our patients:

  • A more effective referral process – an electronic system will make it easier for all referrers to send it directly to the right service first time round
  • Reduced risk of ‘lost’ referrals - by going paperless and using one IT system, we can reduce the risk of misplaced letters. EeRS will also provide an electronic trail of records that can be easily traced
  • Faster diagnosis - ophthalmologists (eye-care consultants) will be able to have the results of eye-care imaging tests, when available, at the point the referral is received
  • Reduced health inequalities - the referral process will be the same for everyone whatever their eye-care issue and wherever they live in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin
  • Reduced need for patients to visit a hospital - ophthalmologists will be able to review digital images and other information shared by the referrer which means patients may not need to visit the hospital for a physical assessment
  • Better communication with patients – one electronic system will mean it will be easier to inform patients where they are on their referral pathway.

Benefits to our workforce and local healthcare system:

  • Improved communications between services - a shared IT system will enable better, easier, and quicker communication between referrers and providers. Using clear forms and digital eye images will enable the right information to be shared early and a better clinical understanding of a patient’s condition
  • Increased ability to identify and reduce inequalities – one system will give us the ability to look at data across services and identify trends to identify and address any areas of inequality
  • Opportunities for continued learning and improvement – the new IT system will enable feedback to be provided to the referrer to improve the quality of future referrals and will help facilitate the use of advice & guidance
  • Greater efficiency – EeRS will support the drive to a future paperless NHS referrals process and greater efficiency.

More updates will follow over the coming months as we prepare to launch the new system.

Page last updated 1 December 2022