|Title||EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH PROGRAMS FOR DIABETIC RETINOPATHY SCREENING IN A MANAGED CARE ORGANIZATION|
|Author, Co-Author||Byung-Joon Ahn, Brad Dunn, James Colgain|
|Abstract|| PURPOSE. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the United States for the working population (ages 25 to 65). One of the important ways to prevent the vision-threatening effects of diabetic retinopathy is to have an annual dilated retinal exam. At Kaiser Permanente, several different outreach and educational programs were tested to improve compliance with annual diabetic eye exams. METHOD. 1) Reminder messages about annual eye exams were placed on diabetic medication bottles, fact insert sheets and pharmacy counseling notes. 2) Educational brochures were sent out to a select group of high risk patients. 3) Posters were placed around the medical center explaining the importance of annual diabetic eye exams. 4) Diabetic patients were offered a dilated retinal exam on a walk-in basis. 5) The appointment center called a list of diabetic patients who were without eye exams within the past twelve months to schedule an eye exam. 6) Bright fluorescent stickers were placed on the inside cover of the diabetic patient's medical record indicating the next eye exam due date.
RESULTS. In a questionnaire asking diabetic patients about the factors that influenced their visit to the optometry department, 33% of the responses reported the recommendation of their primary care physician. 26% of the patients remembered it was time for their eye exam. At one center where 300 educational brochures were sent to diabetic members, 11% of the respondents mentioned the mailing influenced their eye exam visit. In addition, the annual diabetic retinal exam rate at Kaiser Permanente increased from 54% in 1993 to 75% in 1996.
CONCLUSIONS. It is very important to be able to screen for and detect early signs of diabetic retinopathy to maximize treatment efficacy and minimize vision loss. Optometrists can play an important role in the prevention of diabetic retinopathy in managed care settings.
|Affiliation of Co-Authors||SUNY College of Optometry, Kaiser Permanente|