An innovative Australian outreach model of diabetic retinopathy screening in remote communities

Glasson, Nicola M., Crossland, Lisa J. , and Larkins, Sarah L. (2016) An innovative Australian outreach model of diabetic retinopathy screening in remote communities. Journal of Diabetes Research, 2016. 1267215. pp. 1-10.

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Background: Up to 98% of visual loss secondary to diabetic retinopathy (DR) can be prevented with early detection and treatment. Despite this, less than 50% of Australian and American diabetics receive appropriate screening. Diabetic patients living in rural and remote communities are further disadvantaged by limited access to ophthalmology services.

Research Design and Methods: DR screening using a nonmydriatic fundal camera was performed as part of amultidisciplinary diabetes service already visiting remote communities. Images were onforwarded to a distant general practitioner who identified and graded retinopathy, with screenpositive patients referred to ophthalmology. This retrospective, descriptive study aims to compare the proportion of remote diabetic patients receiving appropriate DR screening prior to and following implementation of the service.

Results: Of the 141 patients in 11 communities who underwent DR screening, 16.3% had received appropriate DR screening prior to the implementation of the service. In addition, 36.2% of patients had never been screened. Following the introduction of the service, 66.3% of patients underwent appropriate DR screening (p=0.00025).

Conclusion: This innovative model has greatly improved accessibility to DR screening in remote communities, thereby reducing preventable blindness. It provides a holistic, locally appropriate diabetes service and utilises existing infrastructure and health workforce more efficiently.

Item ID: 42115
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1687-5303
Additional Information:

© 2016 Nicola M. Glasson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 02:09
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420321 Rural and remote health services @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920506 Rural Health @ 100%
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