EyePACS is a web-based application for exchanging eye-related clinical information. When systems integrate efficiently with minimal change to customary practices and established workflow, the ultimate winner is the patient. Our system's design principles, therefore, include:
- Poses minimal barriers to access and use
- Interoperable with relevant health information systems and diagnostic devices
- Adaptable to different settings.
It is our mission to prevent permanent vision loss through innovative interventions.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults in the United States. The National Eye Institute estimates that more than 40 percent of diabetics aged 40 and older have diabetic retinopathy, many with an advanced, vision-threatening form of the disease. More than four million Americans have some form of diabetic retinopathy. This number will likely reach 6.1 million by the year 2020.
Clinical trials show that early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy can reduce vision loss by 90 percent, but nearly half of all diabetics do not receive timely eye examinations. The American Diabetes Association recommends that all diabetic patients receive an annual retinal evaluation, but unfortunately many patients fail to do so because of poor access to convenient and affordable care. In a primary care setting, where most diabetic patients receive their medical care, patients are more likely to take advantage of regular retinal screening. Digital technology, through telemedicine, is an accurate, reliable way to get patients their recommended annual screening.
EyePACS links primary care providers with eye care specialists regardless of their physical location, allowing for early detection of sight-threatening cases and efficient referrals to specialist providers.
History of the EyePACS Program
The Eye Picture Archive Communication System, or EyePACS, is a telemedicine program developed by Dr. Jorge Cuadros and Dr. Wyatt Tellis in 2001. Clinical implementation of the program began in 2003 at the UC Berkeley Optometric Eye Center, and was expanded throughout California in conjunction with the California HealthCare Foundation in 2005. The program was designed to use telemedicine to build sustainable diabetic retinopathy screening programs in community clinics across the state. The diabetic retinopathy screening project started as a pilot program in 2005 with 13 diabetic eye screening sites in California's Central Valley sending images to clinicians at UC Berkeley for interpretation. The pilot project was so successful that in 2007 it was expanded across the state. The EyePACS system is now being used in over 360 sites in over 19 states.
EyePACS uses “store and forward” electronic consult (e-consult) technology: digital images are taken in one setting (such as a clinic) and sent electronically to a provider in another location for interpretation. The system allows clinics to capture and upload digital images of a patient’s retina to the EyePACS website for interpretation by a trained clinician in a remote location. EyePACS is a non-proprietary web-based application; credentialed clinicians can participate as case reviewers from a secure Internet terminal anywhere in the world. This distributed network allows the system to link primary care providers with eye care providers regardless of their physical location.