Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has developed an app to run virtual glaucoma clinics.

The trust’s Open Eyes team worked with Charing Systems and Black Pear Software on the pilot application, which was funded by a £75,000 award from the NHS interoperability toolkit information sharing challenge fund.

Open Eyes is an open source electronic patient record system being developed by the trust. The app means that glaucoma patients’ data can be viewed remotely by specialists for diagnosis.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects the optic nerve, and is often associated with increased fluid pressure on the eye.

It is one of the major causes of visual loss in the UK and involves regular examinations for patients to make sure that their treatment remains effective.

The prototype system uses iPads in remote community clinics to enable a Black Pear app called iRIS to capture the necessary metrics.

These can be collected by clinical staff who are not necessarily trained to make management decisions.

The patient data is then messaged from the iPad to OpenEyes, where a specialist consultant can diagnose glaucoma.

Working with Charing Systems, data was collected and stored through use of openEHR archetypes.

OpenEHR is a virtual community working on interoperability and computability in e-health. The messaging element uses ITK standards.

Consultant ophthalmologist and the head of OpenEyes Bill Aylward said the ITK funding had enabled his team to work with external partners to extend the reach of the open source EPR to other clinical areas.

“Virtual clinics are a way of improving living with glaucoma by reducing the patient’s need for regular travel to a central hospital and freeing up more of the consultant’s specialist time to concentrate on treating the patient’s condition,” he added.

Black Pear Software chief executive Dr David Jehring said the application would reduce administrative burden, resulting in an efficient service and capacity to see more patients.