Telemedicine Initiative Boosts Eye Screenings for Diabetes Patients
Clinics throughout California are participating in a telemedicine project aimed at providing eye screenings to diabetic patients who otherwise would face long waits for appointments for eye care specialists who participate in Medi-Cal, the Contra Costa Times reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Using a special digital camera, clinic workers photograph diabetic patients' retinas and transfer the images to optometrists or ophthalmologists at UC-Berkeley or other facilities. The specialists screen patients for diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness among working adults in the U.S.
According to the Times, nearly half of diabetics do not undergo annual retinal exams as recommended.
The project began in the Central Valley in 2005 with a grant from the California HealthCare Foundation. Last year, CHCF approved $1.8 million in additional funding to expand the project to clinics in the east San Francisco Bay area and other parts of the state (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 8/9).
CHCF publishes California Healthline.