The IbisVision team recently made the trip down to Birmingham where we completed training at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. We worked with and led training for a group of Orthoptists who will be using the IBIS-Connect platform in a comparative evaluation, comparing the assessment of children’s vision remotely versus in-person visits. This is part of a wider series of clinical evaluations involving several trusts in England and Scotland at locations in Falkirk, Stirling, Dunfermline, Glasgow and the Highlands.
This is in addition to other projects we are currently working on with the NHS including our contract with NHS Forth Valley who we have been working with since 2021. You can read more about this, here.
To find out more about the IBIS-Connect platform that will be in use at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, get in touch with us here.
With technology constantly advancing, it’s no surprise that we have some exciting changes coming our way in the sector. Staying ahead of the curve can be good, as well as staying aware of what’s to come too. This knowledge is vital in having an outlook on exactly where the sector is going so, let’s look at some trends to look out for this year.
Technology and its increased levels of adoption have changed many job roles in recent years across multiple sectors. Optometry is no different with refraction and imaging being some of the things that could be impacted by AI. And, with online eye testing having already arrived in the sector, it makes sense that other elements eye care could be next to experience some transformation with AI. The question that many are asking is, will AI replace the optometrist? This is not likely to happen, but it could become an optometrists best friend given how it can complement and aid the work being done in practice. We should not shy away from such advances in technology; AI gives us the opportunity to make eye care more accessible to many more people and help to save sight.
By 2050, nearly 50% of the world’s population will be diagnosed with myopia. It looks like there is much work to be done in 2023 and beyond to come up with solutions to the condition. Part of the solutions we are already seeing is the encouragement of children to spend more time outdoors and less time doing ‘intense near vision activities.’ Current trends indicate that the severity of myopia is increasing and for many, leading to high myopia. There are more discussions to be had this year on the issue and in the UK, major events such as 100% Optical are featuring educational sessions to drive more awareness. It’s safe to say that in 2023, myopia will be considered in the planning of eye care services, this will likely include refractive services such as spectacles and managing and preventing vision loss.
Telemedicine trends are moving along nicely for 2023. Development is only going to continue this year into telemedicine and with multiple ways in which it can be used, it presents various opportunities to fit into an eye care organisation. Many will use it to replace steps in the patient journey while others will use a hybrid approach to integrate telemedicine solutions alongside current processes. There’s much to look out for in this space and prepare for to keep up with the fast-moving pace of telemedicine and all that comes with it.
2023 is said to be the year that smart eyewear begins to make its mark. It may not have taken over yet, but its time is still to come. Meta recently announced that they are purchasing smart eyewear company, Luxexcel which has the capability to produce 3D printed lenses. With this announcement along with the rise of other smart eyewear technology, we will likely see more and more smart glasses coming to market. Smart glasses are set to transform the user experience and companies are now working to see how AR glasses can fit into our daily lives. Watch this space.
The impact on the environment is a continuous and important topic of conversation. The eye care community is attempting to help in its own way by looking at producing more sustainable eyewear. Consumers can also help to push for sustainable alternatives too. Companies such as Couco Eyewear are encouraging customers to turn their old glasses into sunglasses and others in the industry are following suit with similar initiatives. If consumers opt to utilise these then we are well on our way to making a difference.
The above trends are all equally important to be aware of in 2023. They will each play an integral part in progressing the industry throughout this year and beyond. As technology evolves in the sector, we are sure to see many patients and optometrists journey’s transformed; and we think, for the better.
IbisVision is playing its part in the optometry trends of 2023 by continuing to supply our telemedicine solution, IBIS-Connect to the sector. Find out more about our platform and what we’re doing for the industry, here.
Consumer trends can move fast in many industries, and the optometry sector in particular is beginning to see the effects of hastening digital trends. Keeping up with these trends can be a big task and it can be difficult to navigate exactly how we should be engaging with consumers from month to month.
Engagement is vital in attracting customers but also in retaining them too. How we engage often determines how successful the entire consumer journey is from start to finish. In the optical sector specifically, it’s important to consider what is important to patients, what you want to get from engaging with them and also the means in which you engage with them.
We’re sure you’ll find it unsurprising that online engagement is key in keeping up with your target audience. With 6.6 billion smartphone users in 2022 (oberlo.co.uk), it would be silly not to consider taking digital methods of engagement into account. What digital avenues should we explore?
Digital advertisements boost your exposure in a multitude of ways. Utilising your social media channels allows for potential patients beyond your audience to see and interact with your content and digital ads are a perfect way to do this. As well as this, combining paid advertising with your organic social efforts will allow double the exposure and different segments of your audience to get the chance to engage with you.
Email marketing is ideal for engaging with your current consumer base but also with any consumers who have signed up to your newsletters or interacted with your social media advertisements. Using email campaigns allows you to send out targeted content to different segments of your lists allowing for maximum engagement.
Video is a growing marketing engagement tool which will continue to expand as digital content becomes the norm over other types of content. 79% of marketers who weren’t using video planned to build a video strategy in 2022 and 99% of those who are already using it are planning to use it more (hubspot.com). Video allows for you to really showcase your business and what you can offer your consumer, it’s also an engaging and efficient way of interacting with your audience.
Compelling calls to actions are what encourage your audience to really engage with you. Eye catching calls to actions that will lead to a useful interaction for the consumer are vital in encouraging their engagement. Here are some examples of intriguing calls to action from Hubspot.
Patient success stories and testimonials will ensure that you gain the trust of your consumer in order for them to interact with you. Sharing success stories are a great way to engage with your current consumer base as well as potential patients. In healthcare sectors especially, we know the patient will be looking for knowledge that they can trust your organisation before interacting with you. Nuffield Trust has stated that “there are many benefits that can accrue from a trusting relationship, including open communication of information, improved adherence to medical advice, improvement of health outcomes and better patient experience.” Therefore, attempting to build this trust through better engagement and the sharing of other patient experiences can only help to obtain the above mentioned benefits for you and your patients.
These methods of engagement are not an exhaustive list but a good indicator or where to start or where to look at refreshing or improving. IbisVision understands the patient journey and how engagement can fit into improving outcomes for our optometrist and patient users. IBIS-Engage is a part of our platform that allows for engagement before the patient has even booked an appointment for an online eye test. Find out more about this by getting in touch with our team here, or you can see more information on IBIS-Engage, here.
We all know the story – treating patients over the past couple of years has become much more of a challenge as we navigate our way through the Covid pandemic. Even still, while many of us have returned to a normal life without masks and restrictions, in a clinical environment the need to protect patients from disease and limit in-person interaction continues.
So what can we do when this limitation is affecting the health of some of the most vulnerable in society – our children? When childhood eyecare conditions are left untreated they not only can limit the potential of that child in later life, but also place a future burden on our healthcare system that should be avoidable.
That’s the background to a project we’ve undertaken with NHS Forth Valley, Optonet and the Small Business Research Initiative; what does this clinical evaluation of telemedicine mean for the healthcare system?
Childhood myopia is a growing epidemic and the need for access to optometrists and other eye care specialists is vital in allowing parents the information they need as well as the correct care for the child. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that one out of two people have myopia and studies show myopia is becoming more common among children.
This project has allowed us to explore our telemedicine platform in greater detail and allow clinicians across the Forth Valley health board to gain access to our technology and test it for themselves. From this it has been found that home vision testing can be just as accurate as in-person tests. In the above video you’ll have heard clinicians attest to this.
Our work also links with amendments to regulation in Scotland as more people take on the use of telemedicine products. On the 20th of May, the National Health Service (Optical Charges and Payments and General Ophthalmic Services) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2022 were laid before the Scottish Parliament. These 2022 regulations amend for General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) legislation to provide flexibility for GOS to be undertaken using remote facilities.
In the updated 2022 regulations, the existing arrangements for providing GOS using remote facilities continues to apply which is that:
“Remote eye examinations can be claimed using supplementary eye examination reason codes and must involve all the elements of an eye examination undertaken in person with the patient, except tests and procedures which require the physical presence of the patient. A GOS claim cannot be submitted where remote facilities are only used to ask a patient a series of questions to explore their concerns more fully and make a decision regarding whether the patient requires an eye examination.”
These regulations are welcomed as a nod to the developments and adoption in telemedicine and also mean that IbisVision can be used to provide some examinations to the patient from their own home and our work on remote vision testing for children with NHS Forth Valley will comply with current regulations.
The next steps in this revolution in telemedicine in the healthcare system is to carry out further clinical evaluations that will allow for telehealth assessments to become part of the patient journey. This is vital for anyone involved in eye care but also in other medical disciplines as well where eye health can be used to determine other medical conditions. The uses for telemedicine are wide and the opportunities great, all that’s needed is a wider adoption and trust in the technology that will help to transform the clinician and patient journey for the better.
To find out more about the project mentioned above or our telemedicine platform, get in touch with us, here.
There have always been several layers in our passion for ophthalmic telemedicine, producing the leading visual assessment tools that can be used over a simple internet connection. Firstly, we are excited about the prospect of allowing a greater number of people to access eye care, including those who don’t have the means to attend an optician for a variety of reasons. Secondly, we work closely with major eye care companies to see how using our technology leads to efficiencies in the patient journey saving time and costs. Those savings can be invested in further technology and in greater patient coverage.
Now, we are embarking on our most exciting and ground breaking project yet — a process to determine how our technology can be used in conjunction with other medical disciplines, and in a broader health service context, to produce outcomes which are far wider than just those purely related to eye care. That’s why we were particularly honoured to take part in the NHS Scotland-led symposium on 7th July where our technology was discussed along with experts in stroke, cancer, mental health, dementia, diabetes, paediatrics, women’s health and skin conditions. While our technology might only touch on some of these issues, it’s also true that eye care can sometimes give greater insights into other medical conditions.
Just consider the potential if medical practitioners, no matter what specialism, could call upon eye test data to improve and guide their clinical decisions. For example, visual field screening can highlight if a patient has had a stroke or a potential brain tumour. Artificial Intelligence (AI) examination of retinal images can detect risk of cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and more. The recent Scottish National Innovation Event that took place in Murrayfield Stadium reflected this type of innovation in the Scottish healthcare space. Attended by the First Minister and Scottish Government officials as well as healthcare clinicians and technology innovators, the event showcased the types of innovations that can and will complement the healthcare sector going forward. IbisVision’s technology featured in a segment giving detail into how, as part of a current SBRI project with NHS Forth Valley, it can be integrated into the health system to improve the patient journey and assist in health care assessments.
Overall, by cutting the cost and increasing the frequency of eye examinations and opening access to a much wider group of patients, we’re allowing medical professionals across the board to tap into the insights that eye care can provide and improve diagnostic efficiency. For example, patient pre-visit triage can reduce the time they spend in practice and improve patient flow in practices, allowing for greater though put of patients for no extra staff costs. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that through our technology optometry can make an even greater contribution to society.
Contact our team today to find out more – get in touch
For a company like IbisVision, where our product is developed with the input and intelligence of partners and the market, meeting up with the companies who’ll use our platform is one of the most important tasks we can do. This is really vital in the US, which has the most cutting-edge health sector in the world, but also differs somewhat from the public model found across Europe, so we’re learning all the time.
The highlight in this case was making an appearance at the weekend at Vision Expo in New York where some of the biggest names in optometry were in attendance. We showcased our tele-optometry solution IBIS-Connect to numerous professionals and stopped by for a visit to the likes of Essilor and Clear Vision to speak further about what we’re doing for the market. The connections we’re making and conversations we’re having will definitely change the future of IbisVision.
From the past few days, we’ve been lucky enough to have gained some amazing feedback and observations. IbisVision is definitely at the forefront of the telemedicine evolution in optometry and over the next few days we’ve got some more exciting things coming up. We have important connections to be made in New York and we’ll be meeting with venture capitalists and remote healthcare networks to talk more about IBIS-Connect.
Our usual gripe though – our team hasn’t had much time to stop off at any of the iconic tourist attractions so we’ve added the Empire State building and Statue of Liberty to Disneyland on our “missed” list! But you never know…we might indulge ourselves just once before we fly home!
Health kiosks are an amazing advancement in medical technology that’s helping to make healthcare more accessible. This IBIS-Focus article is going to look at what health kiosks are, why there’s such a drive for them in India, and what the outlook is for the future.
What is a health kiosk?
First, let’s look at health kiosks in general. A health kiosk is an electronic machine that helps the public access health screenings quickly and easily. Some are often used by hospitals and UK GP practices as simple check-in systems but there are others out there that are much more advanced and can give real-time diagnostics about an individual’s health such as weight and blood pressure. Each company developing kiosks have put their own spin on things, but in the end it’s all about making health screenings more accessible and a great experience for the user.
Locations of kiosks are also dependant on the business and their model. For example, our partner in India, Pulse Active Stations, locate their kiosks in high footfall areas such as metro stations so they can be easily accessed when people are out and about travelling to and from work. Another popular location is supermarkets, and businesses like Higi are doing this in the US. Additionally, we also have self-serve kiosks that act as check-in systems and are located in hospital and medical environments. It can definitely be agreed that kiosks are an emerging technology that have various features, functions and are also extremely flexible. This is why they are becoming more and more popular, especially as the world moves to a more technology focused way of interacting.
Health kiosks and their place in India
The pandemic has led to major shifts in the way that people access healthcare. One of the countries that has been at the forefront of embracing different telemedicine solutions, is India. In September, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced that the Government of India’s national teleconsultation service, completed over 1.2 crore (12 million) OPD consultations (businessworld.in). This allowed the government to tackle doctor and specialist shortages, especially in remote locations. There has also been a massive uptake from clinicians adopting the use of technological solutions. Doctors who used technology before the pandemic sat at 5%, that figure is now 70-80% (theweek.in). This is an incredible jump, and it speaks to how much the healthcare industry has progressed. As the rise in the use of new technology has taken hold, new ways of screening for health conditions have also been thought about and introduced.
This is where health kiosks (also often described as medical kiosks) come in. Digitisation has helped processes in many ways and allows for the easing of pressure in hospitals and can reduce the number of patients needing to be seen. Having been implemented in public spaces and workplaces in India, kiosks are becoming one of the first points of contact for the general public looking for a health screening. This is vital in the early diagnosis of any health concerns and with most kiosks being interactive, they will analyse the information taken from the patient and will give suggestions for the daily care of the patient. This then allows the patient to make informed decisions about their health and can see a medical professional if they need to.
Kiosks are also an ideal way of offering a screening option to those in remote locations. And this is not just restricted to general medical care, they are also being used for other types of healthcare too. And this is what our partner, Pulse Active Stations, are using their kiosks for. These kiosks aid in early detection of conditions which are related to general health but with the help of IbisVision, this now also includes eye health. In India, 30 million people are blind due to cataracts and 1.2 million people have lost their vision from glaucoma-related complications. This is why kiosk solutions branching out into different aspects of health care is so important. Early detection in any health condition is key, and it’s vital that even in those in the most rural areas get access to this kind of support.
The outlook for the future
As we look to the future, the outlook for kiosks appears to be positive. They are being implemented well in the healthcare industry but that’s not the only place we see them. We now see them implemented in car parks, food outlets and retail stores so it seems that the uptake isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. And this is good for the healthcare industry as it gives plenty more options and flexibility as they decide how exactly to implement them into their organisations.
IbisVision has a keen interest in health kiosk technology, and our aim in helping to make eye care more accessible has become a reality in our partnership with Pulse Active Stations. To find out more about our work on health kiosks, read more here or feel free to get in touch with us here.
We are delighted to be working with NHS Forth Valley to develop new technology which enables healthcare staff to carry out remote eye tests on people at home or in schools.
IbisVision was one of two companies chosen to work on this project to develop remote eye tests so that vision problems can be more easily detected, monitored and managed. Since the beginning of 2020, there have been changing needs in accessing healthcare and a lot of this has come from the effects of Covid-19. The onset of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns brought the need for eye care to be managed differently into focus. These new methods are hoped to allow for less people requiring in-person appointments in optician practices and hospitals.
New methods of eye testing aim to help manage eye conditions in the community while offering a personable service even though the testing is remote. IbisVision as well as other technology providers in the market, have created technology that allows this to happen and means that anyone can have their concerns addressed whether they are in the practice or not.
Virtual technology is an important step for the optical industry and IbisVision was chosen as part of this project to continue our work to make eye care accessible for all. Our telemedicine solution, IBIS-Connect, enables clinicians to seamlessly connect with their patients wherever they are whether that be at home or in a community facility. Our interactive platform means that patients can receive specialist medical advice via an online face-to-face consultation that might otherwise require an in-person appointment in hospital.
Telemedicine is a key component in the modernisation of health provision, and it enables initial assessment, triage and referral decisions to be made by a specialist clinician over video connection. A unique feature that IBIS-Connect brings to the table is our eye examination suite that can accurately determine the position of a patient and it allows for tests to be carried out no matter where the patient is; all they need is access to a computer or laptop and an internet connection.
IBIS-Connect has a unique offering and being part of this project has allowed us to further develop our platform, allowing us to continue to make eye care more accessible. This accessibility benefits those who require medical and optical advice while avoiding unnecessary hospital visits. We look forward to continuing our work that will aid in reducing pressure on clinicians as well as offering a convenient alternative for patients.
IbisVision provides innovative vision testing software to the optical industry. We combine multiple eye tests on a single platform that’s easily accessed online connecting optometrists with their patients. Find out more, here.
A wide adoption of digital tools is allowing the optometry industry to progress and better face the challenges that have presented themselves over the past year. Not only this, but technology is helping to improve patient care while reducing costs for the industry too.
In the past year, tele-health adoption has spiked at unprecedented rates across the world, with some providers reporting 175 times the number of consultations via tele-health compared to pre-pandemic visits in the US (medcitynews.com). This, however, did not mean that every organisation was prepared with the technology to offer or manage this uptake in virtual services. Initially, clinicians adopted solutions that were ready-made such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams but technology suppliers have stepped up and have been developing solutions that are tailored to specific industries and their offerings. From no-contact solutions to health kiosks, technology is playing a major part in allowing health and eye care professionals to navigate the effects of the pandemic.
How can technology benefit the optical industry now and in the future?
Technology is allowing us to provide solutions for current challenges that have come from Covid-19. However, we can use these technology solutions to improve the way in which we operate for the future and provide more essential services to patients.
The advantages of implementing technology are endless, but one of the shining benefits is that technology is encouraging people to look after their health and wellbeing no matter their circumstances. For example, health kiosks mean that people can self-serve which is allowing those who are still worried about visiting doctors or hospitals access to health screenings before it’s absolutely necessary for them to visit a practice in person. In the long term, these types of self-service kiosks will suit those with busy lifestyles and it’s also more convenient for many to assess themselves quickly before booking an appointment with a doctor or other health professional.
Remote technology is also beneficial for industry professionals as well as patients. Tele-optometry is helping to keep to social distancing guidelines for optometrists and patients and this is vital in allowing essential services and care to continue safely. It’s also going to be beneficial for the future too. This type of service will help to fit into people’s lives who are still working from home or have busy working schedules. It’ll also help to reach those who live in more remote locations and struggle to physically access these types of services on a regular basis. Technology is increasing access to vital services and development of software has been accelerated in the past year. This acceleration has allowed certain services to remain open for patients and will now be a key way in which health professionals and patients interact going forward.
IbisVision provides innovative software to the optical industry which includes tele-optometry features as well as a no-contact solution for in-practice. To find out more, get in touch with us, here.