Do you ever wonder where we got the inspiration to evolve EyePACS into what it is today? In 2001 when it was first created, EyePACS was a curbside consultation platform where ophthalmologists and optometrists could discuss different eye disease cases. Now, it’s a global telemedicine platform to help prevent diabetic blindness. We have to thank Dr. Phyllis Preciado and Dr. Lyn Berry, 2 pioneers for the early inspiration. They strongly believed in team-based medical care even though it was a fairly new concept back then. They helped shape what EyePACS is today.
Before becoming an internist, Dr. Preciado was a registered nurse for 15 years and was working at Santa Clara County Public Health when she came across the idea of team based medical care in the Early Intervention Program (EIP). This program focused on providing collaborative medical services to people newly diagnosed with HIV and the team consisted of nurses, dieticians, psychologists, etc. She thought this was a brilliant idea and found that it could also work for diabetes when she started her residency in 1999 at Highland Hospital in Oakland, California. With Program Director, Dr. Lyn Berry, they designed a one stop shop diabetes clinic. The team had dieticians, nurses, medical assistants, podiatrists, clinical pharmacists, and they added more medical staff as time passed and saw more success. They even incorporated behavioral health screenings and held diabetes education classes twice a month in English and Spanish.
As a result, this clinic was popular with patients but ran into issues with administrators because many people didn’t believe in team based medical care at that time. This didn’t deter Dr. Preciado and Dr. Berry because they strongly believed in going where the people are to take care of their needs.
“You have to go where people are, understand that, address their needs, and take care of their needs.” – Lyn Berry, MD
Dr. Cuadros and Dr. Preciado were friends so he witnessed the birth and success of this diabetes clinic. When Dr. Preciado applied this same concept at a Fresno clinic and asked if we could set up retinal screenings, we happily agreed because we realized that EyePACS could contribute an important part. The Fresno clinic was so popular that Time Magazine reached out to do a special feature in their 2003 edition.
In 2005, California Health Care Foundation heard about our retinal screening program and approached us to launch a larger program for all primary care clinics in California. And this is how EyePACS became committed to preserving vision for all.
Author: Carmen La, EyePACS Communications Director