The Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU) has plans for a new national database which it believes will make the case for the commissioning of universal community eye services ‘watertight.’Co-funded by the Central (LOC) Fund, the data repository project is designed to outline the effectiveness of community services, as well as provide an evidence base to NHS commissioners, supporting the push for High Street services on a large scale.
To be led by a steering group of industry experts from across the sector, it is estimated that the database will be launched by the end of this year.
Sharing details of the initiative, managing director of LOCSU, Katrina Venerus, told OT: “This will be a real game changer for community optics which could put paid to the fragmented, piecemeal approach by commissioners.”
Ms Venerus explained that “while the OptoManager IT platform collects data from individual services, it does not offer the global perspective and real-time, in-depth comparisons that will be provided by the new data repository.”
IT company Webstar Health, alongside its parent business Cegedim Rx, will establish the platform to be integrated in the existing OptoManager system which is used by LOCSU.
Once established, the database will provide a comparison across different services by geography, age group and ethnicity.
Ms Venerus added: “The anonymised national data will be extremely valuable to the whole sector. In addition to supporting the case for universal adoption of certain community services by clinical commissioning groups and strengthening the argument for an extended role for optometrists and opticians in primary care, it will also become very useful from a public health and research perspective.”