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Per Olof Lundmark, Knut Luraas, Per Kristian Knudsen, Oyvind Krogh; Survey of referrals and medical reports in optometric practices in Norway: Preliminary findings of a 3-year prospective internet-based study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):1390.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The increasing demand for primary eye care due to an ageing population implicates an enhanced role of optometrists in the communities. However, there is limited knowledge about the extent of interdisciplinary cooperation between optometrists and other health care professionals. The primary objective of this prospective survey was to investigate the rate of referrals and returning medical reports between optometrists and other health professionals in Norway. Secondary objectives were to investigate the extent of optometric follow-ups and the use of diagnostics drugs.
The study is an ongoing prospective electronic survey administered on internet between Nov. 2014 and Dec. 2017. Eligible are optometrists in private optometric practice in Norway. Participants register data for one year. The survey uses a protected web-site for registration of: i) examinations and the use of diagnostics; ii) referrals, incl. receiving health care professionals, diagnoses and ICPC-2 codes; iii) medical reports, incl. ICD-10 codes, and iv) optometric follow-ups, incl. completion of preceding referrals. Analysis of agreement between diagnoses in referrals and reports is made possible by encoding patients’ id. Compliance is promoted through reminder systems and access to customized statistics and reports. The study is approved by the Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics and the Norwegian Social Science Data Services.
1 month into the study, 11 optometrists were included (F: 5, mean age 41.3 yrs) in a first batch of recruitment. There were 670 registered eye examinations, 190 contact lens examinations and 72 auxiliary examinations. Diagnostic drugs were used in 4 % of these. There were 48 registered referrals, all to ophthalmologists (84 % in private practice). Top 3 diagnoses were cataract (40 %), glaucoma (8 %) and AMD (6 %). Diagnostic drugs were used in 31 % of the examinations leading to a referral. In the same period there were 10 returned medical reports and 1 follow-up. 4 of the medical reports were linked with registered referrals. All with corresponding diagnoses.
These are the first published results from a nationwide prospective survey of referrals and medical reports in optometric practice in Norway. Early results indicate a predominant direction of clinical information from optometrists to ophthalmologists.
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