Faster, Earlier Diagnosis of Diabetic Retinopathy Can Benefit Your Patients and Your Practice
According to the Centers for Disease Control
, as many as 50 percent of patients with diabetic retinopathy are not getting their eyes examined or are diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective.
Diagnosing diabetic retinopathy is straightforward, but typically requires highly skilled ophthalmologists or retinal specialists and specially trained ophthalmic photographers. The process, however, is relatively slow, often requires patients’ eyes to be dilated, as well as proper camera orientation, eye fixation, exposure setting and precise camera focus on the retina. In fact, one of the nation’s largest integrated delivery networks recently estimated that evaluating just its own population through actual eye examinations would require 150 full-time equivalent ophthalmologists and several years— this is far too long for a condition where early diagnosis and treatment are key to preserving patients’ vision.
The good news is that there’s an answer for speeding this process in order to catch diabetic eye disease early and reduce costs for healthcare organizations. Automated and cloud-enabled retinal screening solutions
are becoming available to simplify retinal eye exams. These solutions are specially designed to automatically detect the eyes with software, to fixate and properly and align to the eyes with an LED light device, to automatically and quickly capture images of the correct areas of the retina and finally, to transmit the captured images directly to a reading center for expert interpretation and diagnosis.
As healthcare organizations work toward better population health management at the point of care and look to reduce costs as a result of the Affordable Care Act among other things, it’s clear more readily available screening solutions are key. Not only can these solutions generate additional revenues and referrals for a wider array of medical specialists, but they’re also easy to leverage and, most importantly, they can help medical specialists to identify and treat more patients with diabetic retinopathy much faster and much earlier—when the chances for good outcomes are at their best.