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Collaborative care

RANZCO is committed to working collaboratively with all optometrists and GPs to achieve the best possible eye health results for people across Australia and New Zealand.

As part of this, we are developing a series of eye care referral guidelines, initially encompassing glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and AMD. These three referral guidelines, the RANZCO Referral Pathway for Glaucoma Management, the Referral Pathway for AMD Management  and the RANZCO Referral Pathway for Diabetic Retinopathy are available now.

These referral guidelines do not favour, and are not dependent upon, any particular practice referral system or methodology. They simply provide a resource for optometrists, in the main, which lays out a suggested referral pathway if they identify certain symptoms. The aim is to ensure patients receive the best care possible, in the most appropriate timeframe and from the appropriate health care provider. RANZCO wishes to ensure that the limited funding for healthcare, both public and private, is used in the most efficient manner. This requires good collaboration by ophthalmologists, optometrists, GPs and patients.

These guidelines will be available to all optometrists and GPs across Australia and New Zealand in the hope that they will use them and feedback their experiences and opinions. We will also be offering training sessions on the guidelines at RANZCO Congress. These sessions will be open to all optometrists and GPs.

These referral guidelines are based on peer reviewed publications about best practice in relation to referrals for these symptoms and disease areas. That said, we recognise that what works best in theory is not always what works best in practice and so we will be assessing the effectiveness and usability of the guidelines.

There will be opportunities for all optometrists who use the guidelines to provide feedback based on their experience and the outcomes for their patients. RANZCO will use all feedback to review the guidelines and implement any necessary changes to ensure their effectiveness.

As part of the process for analysing the outcomes from the use of these guidelines, RANZCO has agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), or statement of intent, with Specsavers (Australia and New Zealand) to run a two-year pilot programme. Given the number of Specsavers optometric practices in Australia and New Zealand, this pilot will allow us to efficiently gather significant metrics and data to assess the effectiveness of the guidelines.

Working with Specsavers on this project does not limit the availability of the referral guidelines. As mentioned above, the guidelines will be promoted and made widely available to all optometrists and GPs across Australia and New Zealand, as will the RANZCO training sessions to be held during the RANZCO Congress.

View the media release about this project. 

To provide feedback about the referral pathways, please email us at pathways@ranzco.edu.