Enterprise Imaging Blog

Open Your Eyes to the Importance of a Retinal Screening Strategy
Alternate text Posted by Branden Coleman on 7/25/2014 1:00:43 PM

Open Your Eyes to the Importance of a Retinal Screening Strategy
A question for all providers: Do you treat a significant number of patients with diabetes? If so, leveraging a retinal screening strategy could be worth considering to improve your overall care of these patients—not to mention enhancing your bottom line in the process.

Like most, there’s a chance you leave comprehensive retinal screening to the specialists. Though, diabetes affects more than 382 million people globally, and an estimated one of every five U.S. healthcare dollars is spent treating the disease. Unlike the basic office eye exam conducted with an ophthalmoscope, such screening has traditionally required expensive, complex cameras and staff specially trained to operate them. Yet most ophthalmologists and optometrists can’t possibly see every diabetic patient when necessary, opening up the risk that some patients will fall through the cracks and miss retinal exams that could catch problems like diabetic retinopathy before they begin or progress too far.
 
This no longer has to be the case. Fully automated cameras are available, enabling primary care providers to capture high-quality retinal images without specialized training. The images can then be transmitted via cloud to a reading center, where they can be read and evaluated by trained technicians and specialists. The results are then sent electronically back to the provider’s electronic health record (EHR) system for timely, customized care plans and patient engagement.
 
A highly visible value proposition
The value of a retinal screening strategy which streamlines operational workflow, reduces costs and improves clinical care quality should be obvious to any practitioner. Moreover, diabetic retinopathy is an increasingly common complication of diabetes and one of the leading causes of visual impairment and blindness among working-aged adults in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
With a comprehensive retinal screening strategy that leverages advanced interoperability software solutions, providers can not only address patient gaps, but also help providers diagnose and treat such conditions more efficiently and less expensively. Indeed, such a strategy provides value to accountable care organizations, which make money by providing better care at lower costs. Retinal specialists who depend on referrals also benefit from such a strategy, increasing the quality of referrals and enabling them to be more productive and increase billings. Ultimately, patients are the biggest beneficiaries, as they are empowered with faster treatment plans which can reduce the risk of negative side effects or consequences of delayed diagnoses for diabetes – moreover retinal disease in general.
 
What are some of the benefits you envision will come from a retinal screening strategy? 
 
Filed under: diabetes, retinal, screening

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