In line with its focus on providing the highest levels of optometry and dispensing care across its store network, Specsavers has embarked on a mission to transform eye health in Australia and New Zealand.

Specsavers’ professional mission is the culmination of five years of work to develop a model for optometry and dispensing excellence. The company has been investing in equipment and technology strategies, the professional development of its optometry and dispensing workforce, and has established close working relationships with ophthalmology and various other eye disease stakeholders with the singular purpose of transforming the eye health of Australians and New Zealanders.

Optometry Director Peter Larsen explained the three-pronged approach: “Firstly, to transform eye care, it is important to get together with every stakeholder and agree on the game rules. Optometry is not an island; we cannot treat systemic and eye diseases by ourselves. We must engage with others and agree on the protocols. Secondly, we need systematic, improved communication between professions in order to effectively manage patient outcomes. Thirdly, we need to measure those outcomes and benchmark them so that we can analyse and refine them. Once you have that information, you can design education and technology intervention to improve those outcomes.”

Specsavers has already taken significant steps in the execution of this plan – signing a Memorandum of Understanding with RANZCO to collaborate on the development of efficient referral pathways; integrating the Oculo electronic referral platform into its Australian patient management system, SOCRATES; commencing a fast-paced rollout of OCT technology across its store network; investing in IT systems to extract, track and analyse data that can then be relayed back to individual stores and optometrists so that they can reflect on their clinical practice.

Over the coming months, Specsavers will continue to work towards its goal, integrating Oculo into its NZ patient management system, Genesys; progressing its research into referral pathways with RANZCO; and most importantly, presenting more data and evidence of the impact its workforce has had in increasing eye disease detection rates across Australia and New Zealand.

“We’re going to articulate, measure and demonstrate changes in statistics that have never changed in any country, and are not changing in any country,” Peter stated. “This mission is not all about Specsavers – it is all about improving the eye health of Australians and New Zealanders, and demonstrating that in a tangible way.”

Specsavers’ ‘Transforming eye health’ mission is immediately focussed on addressing the 50% undiagnosed glaucoma cohort, the under-indexing of diabetic retinopathy screenings, the inaccessibility of in-store technology to certain patients due to prohibitive fees and charges, and the under-investment in professional dispensing programs and technology.