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Paediatric nurses to be trained to use technology for eye triage

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Children’s nurses at a leading eye hospital are being trained to use new technology so they can play a greater role in triaging and diagnosing young patients.

In all, 13 paediatric nurses at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will learn how to use the Dem Dx decision-making tool as part of a ground-breaking trial.

“This has the potential to improve the existing high quality of care for our patients and make a significant difference”

Lauren Blackshaw

The trial, which got under way earlier this month, will see the nurses use the app-based technology to help them triage conditions such as different types of conjunctivitis, cellulitis and early onset squints.

The hope is it will enable them to safely take on additional clinical responsibilities and lead to improvements in care – such as earlier detection of common eye diseases, shorter waiting times for patients and their families and more effective use of clinical and laboratory tests.

As part of the research, more than one million anonymised historical clinical records will be “mined” to help ensure the advice provided is as accurate and relevant as possible.

Trust chief executive David Probert said the project would see nurses play a key role in testing cutting-edge healthcare technology.

“Our nursing workforce plays a hugely important role in delivering the best care for our patients and opportunities such this allow them to be at the forefront of exciting developments in medical technology,” he said.

Lauren Blackshaw, paediatric accident and emergency charge nurse at Moorfields, said nurses were looking forward to trying out the technology, which can be used online or on a tablet or smartphone.

“This has the potential to improve the existing high quality of care for our patients and make a significant difference in how quickly they are treated,” she said.

“It also offers a first innovative training platform for our paediatric nurses and an opportunity for them to expand their role,” she added.

“We look forward to supporting them as they expand the role of nurse practitioners in triage”

Lorin Gresser

Consultant paediatric ophthalmologist Maria Theodorou said the use of the triage platform would complement current training of nursing staff, “who are the first port of call when children present with acute eye problems”.

“It will improve knowledge and confidence, allowing triage and initiation of investigations in a timely manner which will assist with medical clinical decision making and further improve the patient pathway,” she said.

The research has been funded by government innovation agency Innovate UK through a programme to support advances in digital health technology.

London-based firm Dem Dx, which is run by a team of doctors and technology specialists, said it was excited to be working with Moorfields.

“Moorfields has a global reputation for the quality of the patient care that it provides and we look forward to supporting them as they expand the role of nurse practitioners in triage,” said founder and chief executive Lorin Gresser.

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