Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Study Involving Safety Net Connect’s eConsult System Demonstrates Significant Reduction in Wait Times and Increase in Completed Screenings for Diabetic Retinopathy

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.--()--Safety Net Connect (SNC), a leading provider of innovative healthcare technology for organizations assisting underserved populations, is pleased to announce results from a new study by Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LADHS). The study, which was published in the March 2017 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, revealed that a telemedicine-based diabetic retinopathy (DR) screening program that utilized the eConsult system developed by SNC to facilitate communication and workflow is a promising and sustainable intervention for improving access to diabetic eye care for underinsured and uninsured safety net patients.

The results of the teleretinal diabetic retinopathy screening (TDRS) program study demonstrate consistently positive outcomes. Among a subset of 21,222 patients who participated in the program between September 2013 and December 2015, pre-program post-program data comparisons reveal a significant increase in specialty eye care access:

  • Wait times for screening decreased by 89.2% (from 158 days to 17 days)
  • Overall annual screening rates for DR increased by 16% (from 40.6% to 56.9%)

Of the 21,222 patients that were screened, 68.8% did not require referral to an eye care professional (19.6% were referred for treatment or monitoring; and 11.6% were referred for other ophthalmologic conditions)

“By eliminating the need for a separate visit to a specialist, we are able to increase the number of patients screened for DR without increasing demand on specialty care,” said study author Lauren P. Daskivich, MD, MSHS and Director, Ophthalmology and Eye Health Programs at LADHS. “Most importantly this frees up specialist time for follow-up on abnormal screening results. By facilitating communication and maximizing scheduling access, eConsult plays a significant role in how we create capacity and sustainably provide coordinated care for patients with DR across all of the LADHS sites.”

How TDRS & eConsult Work Together. First, LADHS certified medical assistants trained to use retinal cameras in the primary care setting take photos and upload images via web-based screening software. Next, LADHS optometrists read the screening photographs and provide follow-up recommendations to primary care professionals via web-based screening software. Referrals for abnormal results are submitted via SNC’s eConsult, a web-based care coordination system that has been widely used throughout LADHS since 2012. Based on these results, patients are scheduled via eConsult into either optometry clinics for early levels of DR or ophthalmology clinics for more severe DR, while normal screening results are delivered by the primary care physician without the need for a specialty visit.

“The TDRS program results are outstanding, and we are honored to partner with LADHS in their ongoing mission to integrate innovations in workflow and technology to maximize access and quality patient care for safety net populations,” said Chris Cruttenden, President of SNC. “LADHS has established a replicable best practice for healthcare organizations across the nation who are seeking to provide the highest quality care with limited resources.”

The study was authored by Lauren P. Daskivich, MD, MSHS; Carolina Vasquez, BA; Carlos Martinez Jr, BA; Chi-Hong Tseng, PhD; and Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH. The study was supported by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program and the National Institutes of Health. JAMA Intern Med. Published online March 27, 2017. Article

About Los Angeles County Department of Health Services

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LADHS) is the second largest municipal health system in the nation. The LADHS mission is to ensure access to high-quality, patient-centered, cost-effective health care to Los Angeles County residents through direct services at DHS facilities and through collaboration with community and university partners. For more information, please visit www.dhs.lacounty.gov

About Safety Net Connect

Since 2009, Safety Net Connect (SNC) has partnered with public and private organizations to provide a multitude of successful and nationally recognized web-based healthcare solutions for underserved and safety net populations. SNC’s innovative solutions have reached over 5 million patients from clients such as Los Angeles Department of Health Services (LADHS), MedPoint, LA Care, Orange County Healthcare Agency, CalOptima, San Diego Healthcare Agency, and Cook County MHN (an Illinois Medicaid Project). For more information, please visit www.safetynetconnect.com

Contacts

Safety Net Connect
Kristine Nash-Wong
734-904-4137
kristine.nash.wong@safetynetconnect.com

Release Summary

Los Angeles County Dept of Health Services study shows telemedicine-based diabetic retinopathy screening program with Safety Net Connect eConsult reduces specialty wait times and increases screenings.

Contacts

Safety Net Connect
Kristine Nash-Wong
734-904-4137
kristine.nash.wong@safetynetconnect.com