Innovative Educational Program Enables Primary Care Providers to Screen for Diabetic Retinal Disease

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MANHATTAN, N.Y. - Feb. 26, 2019 - PRLog -- DKBmed, LLC, University of Kentucky (UK) HealthCare, and the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine have partnered to create a new quality improvement program designed to enhance the knowledge of and screening for diabetes-related eye diseases by primary care providers affiliated with UK HealthCare. The program, called Optimizing Disease Management (ODM): A Vision for Diabetic Eye Screening, enables primary care providers to send images of a patient's eye to an ophthalmologist who can quickly review the images and see if diabetic eye disease is present. The program is designed to increase screening rates for diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular edema (DME) among patients with Type 2 diabetes (T2D), and refer patients to prompt and effective care.

Nearly one in 10 people in the US has diabetes; a prevalence rate that is expected to rise to one in three by 2050. In Kentucky, 13.1% of adults are diagnosed with diabetes. DR is the leading cause of visual impairment among working-age people in the US and affects nearly half of patients with diabetes. Despite the high prevalence of diabetes and the associated risk of eye disease, screening rates remain strikingly low with only half of all patients being screened for retinal disease.

"Diabetic eye disease is expected to rise in prevalence as the rate of diabetes escalates in this country," said Ana Bastos de Carvalho, MD clinical instructor in the University of Kentucky's Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and an ODM: A Vision for Diabetic Eye Screening faculty member. "By offering this screening in primary care, the barriers of time and transportation are mitigated, hopefully leading to more patients receiving the recommended yearly eye testing."

Approximately 500 primary care clinicians at over 23 clinics throughout Kentucky will participate. This quality initiative includes:

• Two online educational activities on the RealCME/CECentral platform:
  1.) Education about DR and DME, the importance of screening and referral to care by a retina specialist, the screening process, and current and emerging therapies for DR and DME.
  2.) An online "Patient Challenge Huddle" designed to reinforce key learning points of the curriculum by presenting clinical scenarios that reflect real-world experiences for patients with DR. Participants will be challenged to make management decisions through interactive questions and exercises, receive feedback from faculty members, and review responses from other learners.
• The electronic health record will remind providers to screen their patients with TD2 annually. The images will be transmitted to a retinal specialist for review with feedback typically within 24 hours. Patients whose imaging tests are positive for retinal disease will be referred to retina specialists for consultation, treatment, and follow-up care.
• Patient education materials and a patient video, which include information about DR and DME and the importance of early and regular screening and how the screening process works.

The effectiveness of ODM: A Vision for Diabetic Eye Screening will be assessed by analyzing patients' electronic medical records (deidentified) before and after the program to compare screening, referral, treatment, and follow-up rates. It is expected that the results will be published. An additional group of clinicians in the will participate in the online learning program, and its effectiveness will be measured through its impact on real-world patient outcomes (as assessed by claims data).

Credits and Support
The online education will be certified for primary care clinicians by the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. The program is supported by an educational grant from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

About UK HealthCare CECentral
UK HealthCare CECentral has extensive expertise in delivering high-quality live and enduring continuing professional development (CPD) activities to health care professionals emphasizing evidence-based practice, adult learning principles and innovative web-based technology with the goal of improving community health and patient outcomes. CECentral, as a leader in the innovative use of web-based continuing education (CE), and at any given time offers over 300 accredited online activities in various formats. CECentral's website averages over 10,000 unique visitors each month and has delivered credit to over 134,000 health care professionals worldwide.

In collaboration with faculty and external stakeholders, CECentral generates CPD activities that are based on identified needs and practice gaps derived from learner feedback, literature reviews, evidence-based practices, and faculty expertise. The CECentral staff have experience with working on health services research, quality improvement initiatives, and federally funded education projects designed to change clinician behavior. As a part of the University of Kentucky, CECentral also has access to over 1,600 clinical and community- based faculty, as well as experts in biostatistics, public health, health services research, quality improvement, and instructional design.

The technology that CECentral has developed and the quality of its presentation media are unique resources in the CE sector. Accredited activities are delivered through a variety of formats including webcasts, case studies, electronic monographs, and eLearning communities. Online educational activities are distributed on the CECentral website ( in over 40 health care-specific content areas including: aging, opioid misuse, substance use disorder, addiction treatment, health literacy, public health, trauma, ophthalmological disorders, hepatitis C, and HIV/STD treatment and prevention.

About DKBmed
Working with accredited providers, DKBmed ( develops innovative educational programs and quality improvement initiatives and specializes in bringing new learning methodologies to the CME landscape. To date, DKBmed has developed a number of QI projects in Pain Management, HIV, Depression, and Diabetic Eye Disease. DKBmed was also an early adopter of case scenarios with recorded and live actors, TED/DKBmed Talks, 3D animation, webcasts, podcasts, e-mail, and mobile phone applications for clinicians and patients. These forward-thinking approaches enable health care professionals to learn using state-of-the-art techniques and access educational programs in a manner that is most convenient and appropriate for them.

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