But wait! There’s More…

This dynamic duo, Bev Christie (left) and Joana Rogers, has become a winning team against all odds.

This dynamic duo, Bev Christie (left) and Joana Rogers, has become a winning team against all odds.

You will not believe this story, but it’s absolutely true – we couldn’t make this up! The chances that Ioana Frunza, Infrastructure for Railroad engineer in communist Romania, would become Joana Rogers, Medical Assistant at CHAS Health (CHAS) in Spokane, are one in several million. What Joana has accomplished since she got there in late 2016 - and accepted the role of primary photographer in the diabetic retinopathy (DR) screening program a few months later - is almost as unbelievable. She doesn’t do it alone; she gives great credit to her supervisor, Bev Christie, Clinical Services Specialist. But, if ever there were proof that the secret to a successful DR screening program can lie with just one individual, CHAS owns that story. And if ever there were an individual with a story worth telling, it’s Joana.

We’ll make the history lesson brief. Remember the Berlin Wall? Remember when it came down in 1989 and Eastern Europe underwent a transformation from communism to freedom? Imagine you knew someone in one of those battered countries, a place where a thousand people had already been killed in an effort to end the dictatorship. Let’s say that person you know is Ioana, college educated, working in the important Department of Transportation. Like her father before her, Ioana is part of the team that designs railroad bridges.

A World all New

Then the Wall falls and Romania, along with its neighbors, experiences “the opening to the West.” The dictator and his wife, following a short military trial, have been summarily shot. The world is all new for Ioana and her countrymen, and her line of work, transportation, now requires the important review and renewal of international agreements. The Minister of Transportation needs help in English and French translation, and so Ioana has a new job. And just guess who the Minister of Transportation happens to be: Traian Basescu, future two-term president of Romania!

It was her freelance work on weekends, though, that introduced the biggest change in the life of our young, enterprising subject. Translating on her own, Ioana chanced to connect with a trade mission based in the United States, in the Northwest, in fact. And there, in Pullman, Washington, right on the Idaho border, a young American named Brett Rogers wished to negotiate some agricultural deals in Eastern Europe. But he needed a translator. Enter: Ioana. And – uh, yes, they fell in love and lived happily ever after. (We told you we couldn’t make this stuff up!)

Okay, there were a few steps in between. Brett traveled to Romania and its near neighbors to investigate the options, and he met Ioana in person. Imagine! Next Brett needed Ioana’s translation services for an entire week to interact with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Chamber of Commerce, and so on. What an opportunity for our story to develop! You know how this will end: one year of phone calls and letters (quite tricky in a country where US stamps were coveted by the neighborhood children, who were not above intercepting anyone’s foreign mail), then a tourist visa for Brett to return to Romania, the marriage proposal, and finally a “fiancée visa” for Ioana to visit the United States. “I came to know whether I wanted to stay or go back,” she said. “I wanted to meet his family and get to know Brett better.”

She got to know him better, and she liked what she found. Ioana chose to stay and became Joana Rogers. She worked for a metal fabricator as an estimator and then as a quality control inspector. She did filming for a toy company in San Francisco. She worked ski patrol on Mt. Hood, provided translating services for a school district, and finally, following Brett’s career wherever it took him, Joana ended up near Spokane, inspecting railroad bridges in the breathtaking Palouse. (Well, perhaps not as breathtaking for Joana, who carried her own water and food, not to mention a laptop and a bucket to sit on and all the documentation she would need to meet with contractors in 100-degree heat.)

Now Following her Heart

Joana Rogers, MA, and her retinal camera

Joana Rogers, MA, and her retinal camera

“When my husband retired early from Washington State University,” she says, “I decided to follow my heart at last. I wanted to make my living helping people. I had decided to become an ophthalmic technician,” she continued, “but by then the program at Spokane Community College had been closed. So I entered the Medical Assistant (MA) program. In 2014 I graduated, and I got to do my externship at an ENT clinic!”

As a nationally certified Medical Assistant, Joana chanced to find a local optometry practice with nine employees – three of them pregnant and planning maternity leave! (Again, we couldn’t make this up!) She had her job – for a while.

“Two years later, I saw the announcement for a DR screener at CHAS. I was familiar with the health center and really wanted to help the less fortunate. It was an easy decision.” The decision wasn’t all Joana’s though. She had interviewed for several jobs by then, and it was clear that her accent and her struggle with English were working against her. Bev Christie could hear the woman behind the accent though. “I owe Bev all my happiness now,” Joana says, “for trusting me so I can do what I love.”

A Medical Assistant for CHAS since December 2016, Joana is able to provide a variety of patient care, including blood draws, (to check that important A1C level) and immunizations. But her passion is reaching as many diabetes patients as possible with the sight-saving message: Diabetic Retinopathy can sneak up on you, with no observable symptoms, and take your sight. But, if you have your retinas examined annually, we can catch it while it’s still treatable. You don’t have to lose your vision to diabetes.

CHAS Health was ready for Joana when she joined the DR screening program in February of this year. They already had a well-established “traveling program” by which their digital retinal camera was transported among nine sites in Washington and Idaho. Joana just had to follow the camera and find a new patient population at each stop. In some cases, the patients would be all scheduled and, speaking a variety of languages, show up on time for their sight-saving screenings. In other cases, she would have to work hard to convince patients at various sites to come in for a screening while she – and the camera – were available. And sometimes she’d have to reschedule no-show patients. In each case, Joana embraced the opportunity to help others using her love of optical science.

What if No One Speaks their Language?

Just as important, though, Joana found this new job called on her facility with languages. Many immigrants get their primary care at community health centers, and, in the Spokane area, they come from all over. Of course she can translate for Romanian-speaking patients and employ her French for the older Vietnamese population. “I’ve also learned to conduct the basic eye exam in Russian and Marshallese,” she offered. But it was Spanish that gave Joana pause. “I had tried several times to learn Spanish,” she explained, “but I was always using outdated books that had nothing to do with healthcare. For example, learning ‘Maria is carrying a basket on her head’ did not help me in the health center.”

So, having read this far into our most unlikely story, what do you suppose Joana did?

Why, she enrolled in a free online course offered by the Spokane Public Library: Medical Spanish. She took 12 lessons over six weeks, passed the final exam, and got her diploma. “My biggest satisfaction was when I was able to schedule a patient appointment over the phone with a Spanish-speaking patient,” Joana said. One of her co-workers overheard the conversation and remarked, “I didn’t know you speak Spanish,” and Joana said with a smile, “I didn’t either.”

Joana uses her meager Spanish skills to successfully communicate about DR.

Joana uses her meager Spanish skills to successfully communicate about DR.

Joana is not fluent in Spanish, “but I can ask and answer questions and do the educational part.” Ah, the educational part, the final surprise in this unlikeliest of tales! You see, not only does Joana have a love for saving eyesight and using her languages – she also has a passion for delivering practical, useful education to her patients, no matter the language. “I find the anatomy of the eye as fascinating as the universe,” she said, “and many patients thank me for showing them a cross-section of the eye and explaining the stages of diabetic retinopathy. I hope to transmit to patients my enthusiasm for their eye health. I treat them as I want to be treated. I would want to know why it is so important to return to the clinic each year for a retinal screening.”

Joana developed her own educational materials. And she also developed a little flyer to be handed out to each diabetes patient who is in the clinic for some other concern and is due for a DR screening. It encourages the patient to go to the front desk before leaving the clinic and schedule that all-important test for the next time Joana and the camera will be in town. How does Joana know who needs to be given that flyer on any particular day? “At the beginning of the day, I print a list of all diabetes patients coming in for any reason that day. Then, working with other MAs, we examine the list and determine who should be offered a retinal screening that day. Those who choose not to have it are given the flyer.”

The Benefits of Serving Others

Who benefits from all this language facility and educational passion? Joana thinks she does and, in explaining, she uses yet another language: “After all, the old Latin saying, ‘docendo discimus,’ is still true: By teaching, we learn. Sometimes, in educating patients, I get questions I can’t answer, which makes me do research and learn even more in this field.”

Such an amazing attitude and level of commitment do not go unnoticed. One very appreciative individual at CHAS is Joana’s supervisor, Bev Christie, who is responsible for the DR screening program. “When she first started with us,” Bev says, “Joana spent many hours at home writing down for herself the different steps required to perform and document the retinal exam.”

But there’s more to the story, according to Joana. “Bev was so patient with me as I struggled in the early weeks. And she didn’t mind repeating things as often as I needed them repeated.”

A patient from the Marshall Islands learns about the progression of DR thanks to Joana's determination to educate patients.

A patient from the Marshall Islands learns about the progression of DR thanks to Joana's determination to educate patients.

Bev picks up the story: “After taking the Medical Spanish class on her own, Joana actually sought out a co-worker to teach her enough Marshallese to communicate with diabetes patients from the Marshall Islands. She wants to inform her patients all about the progression of retinopathy so they will continue to see her annually. She always follows up on the reports we get from EyePACS and makes sure patients get their results and referrals. She’s a joy to work with – always thoughtful of others, going above and beyond expectations and treating patients just as she would like to be treated.”

Just the other day, Joana discovered a church in North Spokane with a significant Marshall Islands population, including many youth with perfect English who translate for their elders. It occurred to her that some of those elders might have diabetes, which might be silently stealing their vision. So Joana provided copies of a short message in Marshallese about the importance of yearly DR screening for all those with diabetes, along with her medical director’s invitation to the community health center. “Some might not even know we exist,” she explained, “yet our sliding fee scale can  make DR screening affordable for the uninsured.”

Now, that last part of this amazing story isn’t surprising at all, is it?

EyePACS Returns to Armenia

One year ago we introduced you to Eduard, a 15-year-old boy in Stepanakert, the capital of the autonomous region Artsakh, near Armenia. He had been blind for a few weeks, taking antibiotics that did not seem to be working. When the EyePACS team arrived in Armenia to screen diabetes patients for retinopathy and establish an ongoing screening program there, Eduard’s condition was correctly diagnosed by EyePACS’ chief medical officer Dr. George Bresnick, MD, and Armenian-American internist Marta Nalbandyan, using digital retinal images followed up with lab tests. The team arranged for proper anti-viral treatment at a hospital in Yeravan, Armenia.

Pablo imaged Eduard's retinas last year as Dr. Kuldip Thusu of the Fresno Medical Mission to Armenia watched the images on the computer screen.

Pablo imaged Eduard's retinas last year as Dr. Kuldip Thusu of the Fresno Medical Mission to Armenia watched the images on the computer screen.

Just a few weeks ago the EyePACS team traveled back to Armenia, one year later, as part of the Fresno (CA) Medical Mission to Armenia and Artsakh, organized by Honorary Consul of Armenia, Baron Berj Apkarian. Funded in part by the generosity of Dr. Kuldip Thusu of Dinuba, California, the team brought an additional digital retinal camera to the area to add to the four they had provided one year prior.

And they checked on Eduard. They were delighted to find that, with the proper treatment, his sight had been fully restored.

This year’s medical mission to Armenia again included Dr. Jorge Cuadros, Director of EyePACS, and Pablo Cuadros, program coordinator for EyePACS.

Translation services were critical as the EyePACS team taught Artsakh ophthalmologists at the Stepanakert hospital how the cloud-based EyePACS system works. On the left, in street clothes, are our translators, Mery Soghomonyan and Arman Israyelyan. The doctors gathered around Dr. Cuadros and the laptop are Narek Mikayelyan, Marina Tevosyan and Ruzanna Adamyan. In the back, standing, is EyePACS program coordinator Pablo Cuadros.

Translation services were critical as the EyePACS team taught Artsakh ophthalmologists at the Stepanakert hospital how the cloud-based EyePACS system works. On the left, in street clothes, are our translators, Mery Soghomonyan and Arman Israyelyan. The doctors gathered around Dr. Cuadros and the laptop are Narek Mikayelyan, Marina Tevosyan and Ruzanna Adamyan. In the back, standing, is EyePACS program coordinator Pablo Cuadros.

In collaboration with the Armenian Eye Care Project (AECP), the group launched the ambitious project to screen 150,000 diabetes patients in Armenia over the next few months. AECP was founded by Dr. Roger Ohanesian in 1992 and has been a crucial source of aid in developing eye care in Armenia, providing state-of- the-art equipment and surgical training to Armenian ophthalmologists, hosting international conferences, and serving as a model for other humanitarian organizations. AECP distributed six retinal cameras to Yerevan (where Eduard had been successfully treated a year ago), Gyumri, Artik, Maralik and Kapan.

At AECP headquarters, Pablo enjoyed his opportunity to demonstrate the Canon CR-2 AF digital retinal camera for the photographers and consultants.

At AECP headquarters, Pablo enjoyed his opportunity to demonstrate the Canon CR-2 AF digital retinal camera for the photographers and consultants.

Dedicated to reaching its ambitious goal, AECP has already imaged more than 700 patients’ retinas as of this writing. The retinal pictures are uploaded to the EyePACS portal, which has now collected retinal images of more than a half-million patients worldwide. Then they are read by an automated algorithm created by Kaushal Solanki, with a group called EyeNUK, as well as Armenian ophthalmologists previously certified by EyePACS. Other certified image graders, part of the regular EyePACS team in the US, are helping to read the images in order to maintain the project’s momentum.

Dr. Cuadros explains the EyePACS grading system to an ophthalmologist in Masis. Translation is being provided by Sirpui, standing,  who is part of the Medical Mission 

Dr. Cuadros explains the EyePACS grading system to an ophthalmologist in Masis. Translation is being provided by Sirpui, standing,  who is part of the Medical Mission 

With Dr. Thusu’s recent donation of the additional retinal camera, the screening initiative now reaches as far as the remote city of Kapan. Another new addition to the medical mission this year was Remidio, an Indian company that has developed innovative cell phone technology for retinal imaging. Anand Sivaraman, founding CEO of Remidio, was on hand to help train local Armenians interested in becoming retinal photographers. EyePACS was able to certify eleven new Armenian retinal photographers on this one-year-anniversary trip.

Dr. Cuadros, Director of EyePACS, said upon his return, "We are very pleased to be a part of this truly collaborative effort to reduce blindness from diabetes in Armenia."

Newly certified retinal photographers for a hospital outside Yerevan! Following two weeks of practice with three different cameras, this team made a huge effort, screening 50 patients in a few hours on two separate occasions. Dr. Cuadros personally reviewed their images with them, and they earned their certification. Next to Dr. Cuadros, far left, is Nune Yeghiazaryan, Director of AECP. At the far right is Anand Sivaraman of Remidio. Standing next to Anand are, right to left, Yeghishe Baghdasaryan, Varvara Kalashyan, Kuldip Thusu, PhD, of the Medical Mission, Astghik Ghazarosyan and Lilit Karapetyan

Newly certified retinal photographers for a hospital outside Yerevan! Following two weeks of practice with three different cameras, this team made a huge effort, screening 50 patients in a few hours on two separate occasions. Dr. Cuadros personally reviewed their images with them, and they earned their certification. Next to Dr. Cuadros, far left, is Nune Yeghiazaryan, Director of AECP. At the far right is Anand Sivaraman of Remidio. Standing next to Anand are, right to left, Yeghishe Baghdasaryan, Varvara Kalashyan, Kuldip Thusu, PhD, of the Medical Mission, Astghik Ghazarosyan and Lilit Karapetyan

One Camera + Full Commitment = Success!

In many ways the Cowlitz Family Health Center (CFHC) Longview, Washington, story is like so many other stories of EyePACS partner clinics striving to save their diabetic patients from blindness and vision impairment: seven sites and only one camera; no eye care specialist on staff; a diabetic population equal to 12% of its total adult patient population; a chance to get the first camera at no cost, thanks to Community Health Plan of Washington, and then only the dream of a second or third camera.

The CFHC story has a different ending, though, with some strong, identifiable themes running through it. Here is a health center with one camera and one MA-photographer serving 7 sites -- and consistently screening more than 75% of all diabetic patients’ retinas annually or biannually.* Under the direction of Dian Cooper, CEO, this health center has become what the EyePACS staff likes to call a “top performer.” So what are their secrets?

Well, the secrets are not terribly unusual or colorful. They bespeak committed program leadership, savvy use of the EHR, internal accountability, and big-picture orientation. To hear Dr. Gerry Melgar, Medical Director since 2006, tell it, they just keep at it and celebrate their successes and look for logical ways to achieve better outcomes. “When we got the camera in 2013 and started doing in-house screening in January 2014,” Dr. Melgar explained, “everyone was enthusiastic. Our screening rates immediately improved – for three months. Then it wasn’t so exciting anymore, and our rates started to fall again.”

Like most other health centers, CFHC collects quality performance outcomes data and reports it back to the providers and on up to the highest echelons of leadership, AND they take that data seriously. Dr. Melgar is determined to squeeze every bit of support he can from his Epic EHR. An OCHIN** member and leader, Dr. Melgar has collaborated with OCHIN to create reporting systems that bring all the key data points together, allowing his staff to quickly determine which diabetes patients are due for retinal screening, alerting his providers and their support staff to the need for today’s patient referrals, and allowing EyePACS readers to have the reports directly interface with the OCHIN Epic EHR for easy viewing by the ordering providers.

For its part, OCHIN focuses much of its work on integrating technology platforms with community partners and with the technologies used by their member clinics, such as the EyePACS digital retinal camera. Abby Sears, OCHIN CEO and President, explains “OCHIN firmly believes in the value of truly integrated care and supports the efficient flow of patient information to the providers that need it, where they need it. Not only is this more efficient for clinic staff, it’s better for patient care. Cowlitz Family Health Center under Dian’s leadership has been a great partner with us in this area, and their outcomes demonstrate both the importance and the potential of integrated data.”

Great work with the EHR aside, though, perhaps Dr. Melgar’s real secret weapon is Jodi Davis, the MA who runs the program. “I started here as an MA in 2010 in a traditional MA role, and I really enjoyed my work,” Jodi said. “I liked direct patient service. But after I became a certified EyePACS photographer, suddenly I saw how far-reaching this type of patient service could be. I have learned that, if I am diligent in using the EHR to find the patients in need of their DR screening and I reach out to them to make an appointment, I really can drive up the rate of screening for our total diabetic population.”

Every few weeks Jodi packs up her Optovue camera in its original carton, carefully protecting it with the padding the staff has hung onto since 2013. She sets the camera in its box right back on the adjustable table and wheels it out to her car. The two pieces of equipment ride in her backseat to another CFHC site where screening appointments have been set up in advance.

Jodi packs the camera to travel to yet another Cowlitz Family Health Center site.

Jodi packs the camera to travel to yet another Cowlitz Family Health Center site.

Setting up those advance appointments is critical to success, of course. A master calendar records the DR screening dates for all clinics, and the staff at each site is expected to help fill those appointments appropriately through patient outreach. Each clinic can easily find the list of patients due for DR screening in the Epic system. “We also send batch letters through the EHR,” explained CIO Janice Emery. “The reminder gives them the option to have the procedure done in our clinic or through referral to a local eye care specialist. We do not have a preference for who does the screening.” The staff explained that most patients who choose to go to an outside provider have third-party insurance. “The Medicaid patients and those uninsured come to us,” they said.

That brings up the question: Do you charge your patients a fee for the EyePACS DR screening? “We do,” said Jodi Davis. “The current rate is about $42, but the sliding fee scale lowers that for many patients.” And she explained that the warm hand-off in the main Longview clinic is still a popular way to refer a patient for DR screening. That site, incidentally, which is home to the camera most of the time, provides a separate room specifically for DR screening.

Although CFHC has worked with OCHIN to add a function to the “health maintenance” section that alerts providers and MAs directly when DR screening is due, the clinic also has standing orders, per Dr. Melgar, to make the referral in any case. Jodi or one of the other two EyePACS certified retinal photographers can order the procedure if the primary care provider is unavailable to do so.  And once the EyePACS certified reader, who reads the images remotely, submits the report directly to Epic, the automatic alert is turned off so staff and patients do not waste their time deliberating about the need for a screening until the next one is due.

Dr. Melgar explained that, once the clinic got its DR screening rates up to 50%-60%, the rate was hard to sustain. “Patient outreach was the critical piece,” he explained. “That’s one of the most important ingredients Jodi has brought to this program. Not only is she our first full-time EyePACS photographer – and she has a great work ethic – but she willingly and enthusiastically contacts patients and encourages them to be screened.”

So, is the secret to success the fact that the portable camera and adjustable table fit in the backseat, or is it the smiling face and cheerful, can-do spirit of one Medical Assistant?

So, is the secret to success the fact that the portable camera and adjustable table fit in the backseat, or is it the smiling face and cheerful, can-do spirit of one Medical Assistant?

Asked what motivates her to pore through reports and make phone call after phone call, day in and day out, Jodi said, “I enjoy what I do now because I can see that I make a difference. I enjoy all kinds of patient care, and I still help patients, but now I see the big picture. I take pride in my work and want to see the program succeed,” she explained, “but I also think about my own future. By helping the patients get the care they need, I support the program. And by making the program succeed, I improve my own career down the road.”

She said that motivation to look through the reports daily is a big part of her success. “I keep trying if I have failed to reach a patient,” she said. The Epic EHR filters patients due for DR screening that still have no referral. Then Jodi searches the chart of each one to see whether that patient has an upcoming appointment scheduled. If not, she calls or sends a letter. “I know when the camera will be in their clinic,” she explained, “and I forward the information to all concerned parties.”

If Jodi Davis is the heroine of this story, surely Dr. Gerry Melgar deserves huge credit for being the kind of hands-on Medical Director willing to make processes work smoothly. “Part of our success is to look at the entire workflow and try to address barriers,” he said. “For example, ordering the photography can be a problem if Jodi has to find the provider. That’s why we established standing orders. Since Jodi took over the program we’ve identified some issues in explaining risks and benefits to the diabetic patient. Now we use a script in talking with patients. And we look for eye issues that will preclude good images, like cataracts. We give our staff the right screening questions to ask.”

“We also want to ensure patients understand the limitations of this screening – it’s not a complete ophthalmological exam.” Dr. Melgar, who was the health center’s CMO when the program was launched, added, “The only part I’m not involved with is how photographers are actually getting certified. I personally wrote the report in OCHIN Epic, and it’s a dynamic report that actively looks for patients overdue for screening. We wanted to ensure Jodi had the tools she needed to make it a successful program. Integration into our Epic system is really important. And the other big piece,” he continued, “is that we added a report for each provider. They see their screening rates each quarter. It’s only one of about 20 quality measures that we report to our leadership, but it’s as important as the others

In light of how well things are going for CFHC with its one retinal camera, it’s probably not a coincidence that right next to Dr. Melgar’s office sits the Chief Information Officer, Janice Emery. Together the two ensure every part of their EHR is functioning smoothly and they are getting the best efficiencies from the system. That means Janice also keeps the EyePACS portal up to date. She acts as the liaison between EyePACS and OCHIN, sometimes sending out order numbers to determine why the systems are not communicating on certain patients. Between the two of them, this duo tries not to let anything fall through the cracks.

As we stated at the outset: committed program leadership, savvy use of the EHR, internal accountability, and big-picture orientation. Cowlitz Family Health Center seems to have found the secrets to success.  

________________________

* EyePACS recommends annual retinal screening for all diabetic patients unless previous tests have indicated a shorter interval is required.

** OCHIN is one of the largest health information and innovation networks in the country. A non-profit organization focused on serving the safety net, OCHIN provides health information technology, research, and professional services to hundreds of healthcare organizations located in every state in the nation.

A Milestone Reached: A Half-Million Retinal Imaging Encounters

On May 31 2017, EyePACS completed its 500,000th retinal exam, meaning our system has now      imaged the retinas of a half-million diabetic patients! EyePACS, through its partner clinics, has now logged more than three-million images. We feel very fortunate and grateful to work with like-minded clinic leaders and clinicians and all of their co-workers who have enthusiastically adopted this vital service for their patients. Our partner primary care clinics have integrated this nontraditional service into their workflow in order to fight one of the most devastating effects of chronic disease.

We have learned so much over the years from our primary care colleagues:

1.  We learned that while timely treatment is very effective in preventing vision loss from diabetes, blindness continues to occur when eye treatment is not initiated in a timely fashion. 

Our development efforts here at EyePACS are now focused on enhancing the connections between primary care and specialty eye care in order to address factors that impede the road to treatment. Please stay tuned as we roll out new programs to improve patient education, referral workflows, and treatment follow up. In order to enhance this effort, we hope our partner clinics will let us know what new features and changes from EyePACS would help them better serve their patients.

2. We learned the importance of having solidly validated technology and processes. With the rush to bring new smaller and cheaper retinal imaging devices to the market place, it’s important to remember that retinal screening is only as effective as the quality of retinal images that can be obtained. At EyePACS, therefore, we are committed to using only those devices that can truly detect the many fine lesions that must be seen in order to manage your patients' retinas at all stages of their disease.

3. While EyePACS has evolved over the years, we know this is just the beginning.  Health care is changing dramatically. We have had several wonderful opportunities to participate in the study of cutting edge technology such as using artificial intelligence and deep machine learning to automate the evaluation of retinal images. As health care continues to change, though, what will not change is our focus on safety net clinics and our partnership with primary care.

Thanks again for your support!

The EyePACS Team

EyePACS One of Top Ten Telehealth Solution Providers

Recently EyePACS was selected from among 300 nominees as one of the nation’s top ten telehealth solution providers for 2017. The honor was bestowed by Healthcare Tech Outlook Magazine, an annual special-edition publication that identifies telemedicine services “which require minimal upfront investment to their clinical repertoire” and “will play a pivotal role in providing cost-effective, higher value care.” The editors state that they are seeking solutions that “have exhibited comprehensive know-how and in-depth expertise.”

It is, indeed, an honor to be listed among some very innovative and fascinating telehealth solutions that are helping to use technology to deliver care in a wide range of healthcare scenarios. According to Healthcare Tech Outlook, their evaluation team and selection panel skim through hundreds of solution providers in the marketplace to shortlist the final 10 that are at the forefront of tackling technological challenges in this space. “In the process of selecting the 10 Most Promising Telemedicine Solution Providers 2017,” a spokesman said, “we analyzed the company’s offerings, core competency, news/press releases, client testimonials, milestones and other recognition… we have a full-fledged market research team which actively tracks all the solutions available in the marketplace. Round the year, they keep collating information from market reports, industry news, social media, surveys with potential buyers, and industry events.”

Capping that ongoing review, the publishers begin to solicit nominations from subscribers and online visitors three months before the special edition is to be published. An evaluation team carefully reviews those nominations, which numbered 300 this year, and also conducts independent research to shortlist about 50 top solution providers. A “distinguished panel” of CEOs, CIOs, VCs, and analysts, including the Healthcare Tech Outlook editorial board, selects the final “10 Most Promising Telemedicine Solution Providers 2017.”

Among the other telemedicine solutions featured in addition to EyePACS are: Analyze Health, integrating lab testing into telehealth ecosystems; Avedis, streamlining documentation and data collection; Corticare, a neurotelemetry company providing brain monitoring services; Great Lakes Neuro Technologies, pioneering innovation for patients with movement disorders;  Health Navigator, developing digital decision-support tools and clinical vocabularies; InnovaTel Telepsychiatry; Intellivisit, using artificial intelligence to connect people to care; Teledoc, providing on-demand care using a wide range of personal electronic devices; and WorldCare International, offering expert medical second opinions via hospital partnerships.  

Read about all top-ten providers here. Find the EyePACS article, featuring comments by EyePACS Director Dr. Jorge Cuadros, on page 24.