NewsParkview Health makes diabetic retinopathy testing more accessible

Parkview Health makes diabetic retinopathy testing more accessible

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Living with diabetes poses multifaceted challenges, with managing the chronic condition requiring a meticulous approach to daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly tasks. From routine foot checks to reading food labels, walking after meals, adhering to medication schedules, and consulting healthcare professionals regularly, individuals with diabetes face an intricate web of responsibilities.

The crux of the issue lies in the comprehensive care required to navigate this complex landscape, often hindered by factors such as time constraints, financial limitations, and transportation hurdles. For many, the significance of a diabetic retinopathy test, vital for detecting potential retina deterioration and preventing vision loss, remains elusive.

Chad Shirar, Director of Enterprise Diabetes and Wellness Strategy at Parkview Health, sheds light on the prevailing challenges: “When you ask the majority of people living with diabetes, they are clueless what a retinal exam includes, let alone how important it is to get the test to assure they don’t lose their eyesight. Things like time, finances, transportation and more can all become obstacles to those who need an eye exam. So oftentimes, they simply don’t do it.”

In response to these challenges, Parkview Health has proposed an innovative solution: point-of-care retinopathy testing. This technology aims to provide instant diagnoses with greater sensitivity and specificity than traditional methods, minimizing out-of-pocket costs and ensuring accessibility for patients.

Shirar explains the implementation of the technology: “The technology would be placed in strategic locations that would allow exams to be completed closer to home for patients, with no to minimal out-of-pocket cost.” In the event of a positive result, an immediate referral can be made for the patient to consult with a trained ophthalmologist for follow-up care.

Utilizing existing staff trained and certified to perform the seven-minute exam, Parkview Health has successfully completed over 500 exams in more than 10 clinics. Notably, clinics previously struggling to meet retinal exam percentage completion goals have achieved unprecedented success through this effort.

Shirar emphasizes the success achieved in a rural clinic with high socioeconomic needs and a significant Spanish-speaking population: “After full engagement from the clinical team, we moved their percentage completion from less than 40% to more than 55% in a few short months. This clinic has the lowest recurrence of no-show rates, with high patient satisfaction.”

The results underscore the importance of leveraging existing patient-clinic relationships for increased patient compliance and successful implementation of innovative healthcare solutions, showcasing a transformative approach to diabetic retinopathy management.

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