Secure messaging and clinical platform for eye care launched

Oculo is an internet-based secure messaging service to connect clinical communications between eye-care practitioners. It grew out of the Centre for Eye Research Australia. Its aim is to promote the efficiency and quality of clinical communications – and ultimately to help deliver the best possible care to eye patients so that they may enjoy the best possible sight.
The new platform will bring Oculo’s user base to more than 400 optometry practices and 100 ophthalmologists in Australia. In June, Oculo will launch in New Zealand, where it has received government approval as a cloud-based health IT provider.
Oculo’s original goal, as articulated by Professor Jonathan Crowston, managing director of the Centre for Eye Research Australia in Melbourne and chair of Oculo – along with his fellow-CERA director Mr Peter Larsen – sounded simple: ‘Be better than a letter’.
“The team has invested thousands of hours to develop privacy and data-security controls that mean that correspondence by Oculo is indeed better than a letter, and so much more. It has intelligent prompts and other features to enhance the quality of referrals and to create a shared eye e-health record,” Prof Crowston said.
Oculo has been developed in collaboration with Specsavers, Luxottica, and Bupa Optical and is actively promoting to independent optometrists. It has built clusters of ophthalmologists around optometrists to create clinical networks.
According independent optometrist, Mr Andrew Watkins, the new service is, “easy, convenient and streamlined. Oculo is the way of the future for collaborative patient care.”
Amongst Oculo’s other early users is Assoc Prof Angus Turner, director of Lions’ Outback Vision, who is trialling the platform for teleophthalmology with Specsavers, OPSM, and Laubman and Pank sites in Albany, Kalgoorlie and Karratha.
“We are already seeing the difference Oculo can make for patients based in rural and regional areas. It means ophthalmologists can access quality information from across the country to provide more timely, better-informed care,” Prof Turner said.
Oculo has also reached in-principle agreents to provide pro bono access for a number of low-vision services and patient advocacy groups across Australia. The aim is to promote the timely referral of vision-impaired patients to support services and the groups will ‘go live’ in June.
Images L to R: Jonathan Crowston, managing director of the Centre for Eye Research, Peter Larsen, director of the Centre for Eye Research

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