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Assessment of optometrists' referral accuracy and contributing factors: A review

Carmichael, Josie; Abdi, Sarah; Balaskas, Konstantinos; Costanza, Enrico; Blandford, Ann; (2023) Assessment of optometrists' referral accuracy and contributing factors: A review. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics (OPO) 10.1111/opo.13183. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Purpose: In the UK, ophthalmology has the highest number of outpatient appointments within the National Health Service. False-positive referrals from primary care are one of the main factors contributing to the oversubscription of hospital eye services (HESs). We reviewed the accuracy of referrals originating from primary care optometrists and contributing factors, such as condition type and years since registration.// Recent findings: Of the 31 studies included in the review, 22 were retrospective analyses of referrals and appointments at the HES. Eight were prospective studies, and one used online clinical vignettes. Seven assessed the accuracy of referrals for all ocular conditions. The remaining studies focused on glaucoma (n = 11), cataracts (n = 7), emergency conditions (n = 4), neovascular age-related macular degeneration (n = 1) and paediatric binocular vision (n = 1). The diagnostic agreement for suspected emergency ocular conditions was the lowest, with only 21.1% of referrals considered to require urgent attention in one study. For glaucoma, the first-visit discharge rate was high (16.7%–48%). Optometrist referral accuracy was overall 18.6% higher than General Medical Practitioners'; however, the two mainly referred different ocular conditions. Female optometrists made more false-positive referrals than males (p = 0.008). The proportion of false positives decreased by 6.2% per year since registration (p < 0.001).// Summary: There was significant variation in referral accuracy across different ocular conditions, partly due to differences when defining accurate referrals. Optometrists working in primary care are generally more limited in their resources than the HES. Thus, choosing the cautious option of referral when they are unsure could be in the patients' best interests. The possible effect of increased use of advanced imaging on referrals requires evaluation. Although interventions such as refinement schemes have been put in place, these vary across regions, and their approaches such as virtual referral triaging may reduce unnecessary HES face-to-face appointments and promote communication between primary and secondary care.

Type: Article
Title: Assessment of optometrists' referral accuracy and contributing factors: A review
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/opo.13183
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/opo.13183
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 The Authors. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of College of Optometrists. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: false-positive optometrists optometry referral accuracy referrals
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > UCL Interaction Centre
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10173878
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