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Multi-part Educational Initiative Seeks to Prevent Blindness in People with Diabetes
Despite continued therapeutic advances, DR/DME remain leading causes of irreversible blindness among adults residing in the United States. Among the most effective strategies to limit the morbidity associated with these conditions is routine screening, as prompt detection and intervention can prevent upwards of 98% of diabetic vision loss. Unfortunately, findings from the American Academy of Ophthalmology suggest that fewer than half of patients with diabetes in the United States receive a dilated eye exam after receiving a diabetes diagnosis. This screening gap is particularly pronounced among African Americans and Hispanic individuals, who access clinical services at lower rates and engage less frequently in self-management education.
"Although screening can be completed by primary care physicians' offices with or without the assistance of AI, many patients in the United States are still not screened for DR/DME," notes Charles Vega, MD, FAAFP, Health Sciences Clinical Professor at UC Irvine School of Medicine. "In recent years, therapeutic advances have outpaced improvements in screening protocols, and much work is to be done in terms of enhancing communication with patients and letting them know what options are available now. Educational programs that can clarify new pathways for screening in the primary care office are going to be essential, and I'm looking forward to a future where fewer patients with DR/DME have vision loss."
DKBmed and MLG have experienced success previously in their last collaboration, which aimed to increase screening and treatment referrals among high-risk patients with DR/DME. Together, by leveraging each company's differing strengths in primary care provider and ophthalmic education, the two produced a collaboration that produced a DR/DME screening protocol for primary care providers at three healthcare systems nationwide: Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, Boston University, and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. This new program, which will be larger in scope, endeavors to deepen collaboration in care between primary care physicians and ophthalmic specialists.
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