How Health Partners, Inc is using Topcon Screen to Improve Patient Care

Leading Telehealth Platform Facilitates Diagnosis of Diabetic Retinopathy and Leads to Early Intervention for Patient Care

 

As the population ages and the prevalence of sight-threatening eye diseases continues to in- crease, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the need for early detection and intervention becomes para- mount. Tools that are able to detect eye disease in its early stages can lead to effective treatment and more successful patient outcomes, reducing the risk for visual impairment and blindness.

Topcon Screen (Topcon Healthcare Solutions, Oakland, New Jersey) is a platform that allows the primary care physician (PCP) to screen diabetic pa- tients right in their office, without the need to refer out to an ophthalmology clinic. Topcon Screen em- powers PCPs by giving them control over this criti- cal piece of diabetic care.

Just ask Chrisie Mulcahey, Executive Director of Health Partners, Inc., a non-profit medical and den- tal clinic in Waldorf, MD for the under-insured and uninsured residents of Southern Maryland. They recently began using Topcon Screen in their primary care office and have seen very positive results.

“Having screening in the primary care space is a huge benefit. People are looking for convenience. While you have the patient in your office, you have the op- portunity to screen them. Topcon Screen removes the social determinants to healthcare, such as trans- portation. The patient doesn’t have to establish care elsewhere and since they are already familiar with their PCP, it reduces their test anxiety. Oftentimes, the patient doesn’t know how critical their case is until they’re examined,” stated Ms. Mulcahey.

One particular case proved this point. “The pa- tient hadn’t been in for a checkup in over a year. We told her she needed to get an eye exam, but she was hard to convince. Eventually she came in for a follow-up visit and we were able to screen her that day. We found that she had moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy and we immediately referred her out to a Retina Specialist,” said Ms. Mulcahey.

One particular case proved this point.  “The  pa-  tient hadn’t been in for a checkup in over  a year.   We told her she needed to get an eye  exam, but  she was  hard  to  convince.  Eventually  she  came  in for a follow-up visit and we were able to screen her that day. We found that she had moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy and we immediately referred her out to a Retina Specialist,” said Ms. Mulcahey.

The patient’s fundus photograph showing areas of moderate diabetic retinopathy. 

Topcon Screen consists of the Topcon TRC-NW400 Robotic Fundus Camera and an interconnected reading network, making it very easy for PCPs to screen diabetic patients right in their office. The non- invasive eye scan takes less than 3 minutes and im- ages are automatically transferred to Topcon’s read- ing network, where they are graded by certified cli- nicians and a completed analysis report is securely returned to the medical provider in less than 48 hours. This comprehensive yet simple screening tool helps to reduce costs associated with screening, detection, referral and treatment of eye disease.

 

“Making the screening possible in the primary care space helps physicians identify patients who may be suffering from diabetic retinopathy and other sight-threatening diseases and refer them for treat- ment. It just makes sense to be able to scan these pa- tients as early as possible at the point of care,” said Mike DeCastro, Director of Telemedicine Sales, U.S. for Topcon Healthcare Solutions.

Prior to adopting Topcon Screen into their practice, Health Partners was referring patients to an ophthal- mologist, which made tracking compliance difficult. It has been shown that as many as 50% of diabetic patients do not follow up with their eye care spe- cialist, leading to what practitioners refer to as the critical gap in diabetic care.1 As Ms. Mulcahey stated, “Compliance has traditionally been a big challenge. The only control you have is to ask them ‘Did you go?’ when they come back for their follow-up. Whereas with Topcon Screen, you can screen the patient right here in the office in 5 minutes. We will definitely have more compliance with this method.”

Topcon TRC-NW400 is a fully automated, easy-to-use, auto-focus, auto-capture non-mydriatic retinal camera

In addition to closing this gap, Topcon Screen can also improve a practice’s quality of care, something that is a top priority for Ms. Mulcahey and her col- leagues. By providing an effective path for diabetic care, Topcon Screen can increase a practice’s overall HEDIS compliance, MIPS quality care measures, and STAR rating, helping a practice to achieve its optimal performance rating.

“Healthcare is moving into a quality-based reimburse- ment model. With Topcon Screen, we can increase our reimbursements and improve our ability to care for our patients. Topcon Screen allows us to close the care gap, specifically for our diabetic patients,” said Ms. Mulcahey. Their care coordinator is continuing to follow up with all diabetic patients who have not had their eye screening done and educating them on the importance of the screening.

Ms. Mulcahey is very pleased that she has incorpo- rated diabetic eye screening into their primary care practice. It will help to close the diabetes care gap, improve patient compliance, and increase their prac- tice’s quality performance ratings. They just added another Topcon Screen system at their second office location. Topcon Screen has given Health Partners all the tools they need to get their diabetic patients the critical eye care they need as quickly as possible.

“Healthcare is moving into a quality-based reimbursement model. With Topcon Screen, we can increase our reimbursements and improve our ability to care for our patients.

Chrisie Mulcahey

Executive Director, Health Partners, Inc.

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