BOISE, Idaho, and KINGWOOD, Texas—Vision Source, North America’s largest independent optometric alliance, and Kno2, a provider of Interoperability as a Service (IaaS) across health care, said Thursday they will collaborate to improve the eye exam referral process within the health care community. The “Kno2: Interoperability as a Service” solution enables an efficient, closed-loop referral process “that gives physicians the information they need when they need it, improving the overall quality of care,” according to the joint announcement.

Vision Source currently collaborates with accountable care organizations, integrated networks and health plans to address the needs of patients with chronic diseases, especially diabetes, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, as a way to effectively provide quality care and close care gaps, according to the announcement.

“Currently, referrals, reports and patient information are largely exchanged via manual fax, which has proven to be ineffective, delaying the quality of care for all patients,” the announcement noted. Vision Source said it searched for an interoperability solution that could provide an effective and secure form of electronic communication that is agnostic to the EHR being used by the provider on either end.

“Kno2: Interoperability as a Service was the fastest path to interoperability for Vision Source because Kno2 immediately turns on connectivity between their optometric network with over 3,300 practice locations and the physicians within various health systems,” the announcement stated.

“It was a significant problem solver,” Vision Source vice president and chief medical officer Dr. Paul Williams said. “In some cases, fax requests never reached us, were lost, or were not legible; it was a frustrating process with no accountability or tracking.” Williams also said a pilot program “has gone so well that we are extending Kno2: Interoperability as a Service connectivity to all Vision Source clinics across the U.S.”