Joshua Jeyaraj, Josephine Muir, Angus Turner
Purpose: To assess the effectiveness of a mobile eye health service (Lions Outback Vision Van LOVV) in providing ophthalmology services to patients in Derby, Western Australia during its inaugural year. Methods: A quantitative approach was used with the addition of semi-structured interviews. Patient attendance rates, requirements for patients to travel and surgical waitlist rates from the LOVV clinics in 2016 were compared with outreach clinics (OC) conducted in 2015. Equipment utilised on the LOVV was recorded. Six qualitative interviews were conducted to gain the perspective of key stakeholders.
Results: 215 patients were referred to the LOVV, and 199 to OC. Attendance rates increased signift- cantly, with 146 attending the LOVV (DNA=69), while 101 attended the 2015 OC (DNA=98) (OR 2.0531, CI 95% = 1.3776-3.0599, p= 0.0004). Patient referrals to sites outside of Derby signift- cantly decreased, with 16 transfers in 2015, and 6 in 2016 (OR 4.3922, CI (95% 1.6547-11.6585), p=0.003). There was no signiftcant difference in the rate of patients waitlisted for surgery (OR 1.044, CI 95% 0.503-2.165, P=0.9). Equipment utilisation demonstrated more patients accessed equipment on the LOVV that was previously unavailable without travel (specialist equipment utilised 130 times).
Conclusion: This study has shown how the LOVV has effectively provided ophthalmology services to Derby in 2016 compared to previous OC through higher attendance rates, a reduced requirement for patients to travel and access to specialist equipment. Interviews supported key ftndings; greater patient satisfaction was experienced with the ability to access a more comprehensive service without need- ing to travel.