Supporting practice systems
Michael Prais, director of the practice management system, Opticabase, tells OT about the launch of a programme to assist domiciliary practitioners
15 February 2022
Three facts about Opticabase
- Opticabase was developed ‘by opticians for opticians’
- Over 650 practices use Opticabase in the UK and Ireland
- The company provides three different in-practice packages depending on a practice’s requirements, along with a system for domiciliary companies.
What is the latest product or solution that Opticabase has released and why does it stand out from the crowd?Around 12 months ago Opticabase released an add-on programme called Opticabase Home. This enables practitioners to visit patients where there may not be a stable or any internet connection. This is proving to be extremely useful in England where NHS forms are mainly electronic and those forms could not be completed with patient signatures without an internet connection. Opticabase also provides a simple electronic solution for pre-visit notifications which is much faster than using the portal for submitting them.
Why was Opticabase Home needed? How does this support practices that offer a domiciliary service?Not long after NHS England and Primary Care Support England (PCSE) started rolling out electronic NHS forms, it was obvious to us that there was going to be a problem for domiciliary companies due to the fact that the paper option that was on offer in England was not fit for purpose, and the electronic forms were the only way forward. The new paper forms have very small boxes to fill in, like a passport application form, and are often returned by PCSE who process them. In fact Opticabase received calls from many providers who tried using the paper forms and had the majority returned due to small errors and sometimes with no errors. The advantage of using electronic forms was clear and we needed to find a solution quickly as domiciliary providers cannot rely on there being an internet connection at every venue they visit.
What’s next? Are there any new products or solutions in development that customers should be aware of?Opticabase is currently working with NHS England, along with electronic eye care referral systems, to make referrals easier. We are integrating electronic patient referrals into Opticabase so that patients can be referred directly from Opticabase into referral portals without the need for practitioners to duplicate their data input.
Domiciliary providers cannot rely on there being an internet connection at every venue they visit
How was Opticabase affected by COVID-19? How has the company adapted as the situation changed?Although practices did close for a short period at the start of COVID-19, here at Opticabase we carried on working throughout. A huge amount of development work was required to make sure that the new electronic GOS (eGOS electronic NHS forms) in England worked well from Opticabase. That development paid off, as current Opticabase users are very happy with the simplicity of eGOS from Opticabase and we have received many new customers.
What do you see as key trends for practice management, and the systems that support this, in the year ahead?Many practices are catching up with a backlog of patients who need recalling for examinations that they have missed, due to not being able to test at their usual capacity during the pandemic. A practice management system can help in this by making sure practices keep in touch with their existing patients either by SMS messaging, emailing or printed newsletters, so that patients feel connected to the practice even though they may not have been recalled for their routine examination.
What external factors is the company taking into account when planning for the future, and why?When developing our systems we always keep in mind the smaller and larger practices, as well as the businesses with multiple practices. Having worked in multiples and run my own practices for 25 years, and with my wife currently a locum optometrist, we fully understand what our users require when they make new requests.
What are the company’s main ambitions for the next 12 months?
Opticabase will continue to service its current users and provide the level of support for which it is known. We continue to grow week-on-week and aim to see that growth continue for the future. Our new customers mainly come through recommendations from colleagues and locum optometrists who have used various systems and prefer to use Opticabase.
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