The use of telemedicine helped a primary care clinic more than double the percentage of diabetic patients undergoing screening for retinopathy over the course of a year, according to a research letter published this month in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The researchers, based out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, approached the study hypothesizing that telemedicine was “an emerging strategy” to boost retinopathy screenings for diabetic patients. The results backed up their initial predictions, as screening frequency jumped from 32 percent to 71 percent in one year’s time.
“Despite well-accepted national and international guidelines, on average, less than 50 percent of patients with diabetes mellitus undergo screening for retinopathy in the United States,” the authors wrote. “Introducing this technology at the point of care of the primary care physician could substantially reduce barriers and improve early detection of retinopathy.”