Eight years’ experience in mobile teleophthalmology for diabetic retinopathy screening
Medical hypothesis discovery and innovation in ophthalmology,
Vol. 11 No. 4 (2022),
3 February 2023
AbstractBackground: Screening for diabetic retinopathy in the community without compromising the routine workof ophthalmologists at hospitals is the essence of teleophthalmology. This study was aimed at investigating theefficacy of teleophthalmology practice for screening diabetic retinopathy from 2012 to 2020. It was also aimed at comparing the 2-year prevalence of camps organized by a district hospital in South India, as well as the footfall, reporting, follow-up, patient response, and diagnostic efficacy at these camps.
Methods: All patients with diabetes and unexplained vision deterioration attending the mobile camp unitsunderwent non-dilated fundus photography. Patients underwent teleconsultation with the ophthalmologist atthe district hospital, and those requiring intervention were called to the district hospital. Trends were studiedfor the number of patients reporting to the hospital. Patient satisfaction was recorded based on a questionnaire.
Results: A total of 682 camps were held over 8 years, and 30 230 patients were examined. Teleconsultationwas done for 12 157 (40.21%) patients. Patients requiring further investigations, intervention for diabeticretinopathy, or further management of other ocular pathologies were urgently referred to the district hospital(n= 3293 [10.89%] of 30 230 examined patients). The severity and presence of clinically significant macularedema increased significantly with an increased duration of diabetes mellitus (P < 0.001). The percentage ofteleconsultations showed an increasing trend over the years (P = 0.001). Similarly, considering trends of patientsreporting to the hospital, the attrition rate decreased over the years (P < 0.05). A total of 10 974 of 12 157(90.27%) patients who underwent teleophthalmic consultation were satisfied with the service.
Conclusions: Teleconsultations over the years showed an increasing trend, and the attrition rate decreased overthe years. Teleophthalmology is achieving success in providing high-quality service, easy access to care, and inincreasing patient satisfaction. Future studies on the role of teleophthalmology for other leading preventablecauses of blindness seem possible and necessary.
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