The Critical Role of the Primary Care Provider
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults in the United States. Providers are the key to fighting diabetic retinopathy at the primary care level and an essential element of the EyePACS telemedicine program. In most clinics, diabetes patients are referred for screenings by the doctors who see them in the course of their regular diabetes management program.
Clinics have demonstrated they are able to successfully integrate retinopathy screening into their primary care workflow and have demonstrated patient, provider, and specialist acceptance with high levels of satisfaction. Participating clinics have seen considerable improvements in diabetic retinopathy screening rates and more timely referrals to specialists for treatment. In addition, clinics have found the retinal images are powerful tools to engage patients with diabetes in making behavior changes to improve the management of their diabetes.
In order to ensure that clinic providers are making these referrals for patients who need them, doctors need to know that a clinic is committed to the program, understand how the program works, and be aware of its benefits for patients.