An e-health focus group set up by the Optical Suppliers Association (OSA) formed plans to create a set of standards and empower eye care professionals (ECP) to use the most advanced technology.

Karl Jeebaun, chair of the group, said: ‘One of the barriers to adopting new technology is the ECP’s question of if it can be used safely. With many businesses providing technology and IT practice management systems, we are looking to optimise what we can achieve by working together. Building a bridge between instruments and software will ensure that new technology can be used for optimum patient care.’

He added that challenges around liability needed to be overcome and conservatism was delaying the adoption of digital technologies in many practices.

The group has agreed to identify and work with e-health stakeholders to develop guidance, meet regulatory requirements, define the distinction between devices suitable for patient use or by a qualified clinician, and address the concerns of the profession.

Vice chairman of the group Jason Higginbotham added: ‘Our businesses want to function on an international platform and beacon status would be very useful. We have a real opportunity – no one wants to stifle innovation but at the moment there is no clear path.’