Mobile eye clinic offers a vision of the future
22 June 2021
Now staff at the Western Eye Hospital have come up with an innovative solution to put patients’ minds at ease.
A new mobile clinic, known as the ‘i-VAN’, can be driven to community hubs like shopping centres or GP surgeries. Backed by funding from Imperial Health Charity, it features everything needed for a one-stop eye exam. Patients can also feel more relaxed, with strict PPE use and thorough cleaning between visits.
“The i-VAN offers the possibility of patients being seen locally, eliminating public transport and hospital waiting rooms and queues."
Professor Francesca Cordeiro, Professor of Ophthalmology
Professor Francesca Cordeiro, Professor of Ophthalmology at Imperial College London, said: “The i-VAN offers the possibility of patients being seen locally, eliminating public transport and hospital waiting rooms and queues.
“Staff have welcomed it as an opportunity to provide services to the community, empowering them to catch up with the sizeable backlog created by Covid-19.”
One area hit particularly hard by the pandemic has been clinical studies, with researchers struggling to recruit enough people to take part in trials. Staff at the Imperial College Ophthalmology Research Group have seen a 77% drop in participants.
Professor Cordeiro said: “While Covid trials recruited very well, elsewhere we have seen a significant loss of patient motivation due to a perception that it’s generally safer to stay away from hospital and busy waiting rooms unless one is obviously in need of care.
“We proposed the idea of a mobile research unit to the patients and found that three quarters welcomed the idea of a mobile unit which would overcome several barriers preventing them from participating in trials, including inconvenience, fear of travelling on public transport and fear of contracting Covid-19 in a hospital environment.”
A generous donation of a mobile clinic put the project on track, with our funding supporting the team with maintenance and operating costs ahead of the i-VAN’s first trip in June.
Professor Cordeiro believes this could be the first in a fleet of mobile units, allowing the Trust to lead the way in post-pandemic healthcare.
She added: “In addition to bringing research to the community and facilitating satellite clinics, our ambitions include research projects that would require community diagnostic and screening capacity.
“We believe that the future of the i-VAN is going to be shaped while trying to meet the needs of the population in a constantly changing and increasingly demanding world.”