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Successful Sight Saving Screening Programme for Diabetes Patients set to Expand
Nottingham Diabetic Retinopathy Service receives National Commendation


A £4.5m community based digital eye screening programme designed to detect and treat diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in the developed world, is being rolled out to other locations, following its huge success since launching seven months ago. The Nottingham Diabetic Retinopathy Service is expanding from four to 10 locations, to include additional health centres and a branch of Boots in Nottingham City Centre as well as two hospitals. The Service has also been commended in the recently published Department of Health National Service Framework report* as a model screening programme.

The Nottingham Diabetic Retinopathy Service was launched ahead of schedule last September and is using OptoMize iP, an innovative digital imaging software and electronic patient records system developed by Digital Healthcare, a Cambridge company that is the UK’s leading supplier of specialist diabetic retinopathy screening software.

Diabetes patients in Nottinghamshire are invited to attend a screening clinic at a location near to their homes, where a digital photograph is taken of the back of their eyes that can detect diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that can lead to blindness if left untreated.

To date, the Service has offered nearly 11,000 screening appointments, with a current rate of 1,900 per month, to the 23,000 registered diabetes patients in Nottingham, including children from the age of 12 years. It is therefore well on track to meet Department of Health targets which require 100% of the diabetic population to have had access to a digital scan of their eyes by the end of 2007.

The Service began by screening diabetes patients at the Queen’s Medical Centre, the City Hospital, Stapleford Care Centre and Park House, Carlton. The recent extension means that patients can now also attend screening appointments at health centres in Clifton, Gamston, Ruddington, Hucknall and Kimberley as well as at the City Centre branch of Boots.

Dr Tasso Gazis, Diabetes Consultant at the Queen’s Medical Centre and Clinical Leader of the Screening Service, said: “Diabetic retinopathy is a symptomless disease that can have devastating effects but which is treatable with laser treatment if it is caught early on. The digital imaging service that we offer using Digital Healthcare’s software is the most effective way to identify the disease at an early stage. And we can also use this software to monitor for changes in eye condition by comparing images taken at different points in time.”

“Detection of the disease also depends on reaching out to diabetes patients and making it as straightforward as possible for them to attend their screening appointments. Digital Healthcare’s software can be pre-loaded onto laptops so that our staff can travel between health centres to hold screening clinics for about a month at each centre on a revolving basis. This means that we can provide a mobile, community-based service, offering patients a greater choice of locations for their screening appointments, which is particularly useful for elderly patients and increases the overall take-up rates.”

Turnaround times on the Screening Service, which is co-ordinated by the Departments of Diabetes and Ophthalmology at Nottingham University Hospitals, are rapid with patients typically receiving notification of their results within a fortnight of the screening. However, if an abnormality is detected during the screening process, the patient is referred directly to a specialist clinic for further investigation and laser treatment, if appropriate, without the need to seek a referral from their GP.

Dr Gazis commented: “The software contains a secure electronic patient records system covering all the patients on the programme so we can pull up patient histories and images instantly. The system is also fully-automated so we can generate referrals to clinics straight after screening, as well as reports on the screening results for GPs


Publisher Contact Information:

Digital Healthcare Ltd (DH)
+44 (0)1865 811199
m.henry@oxin.co.uk

Company profile of Digital Healthcare Ltd (DH)
Past press releases of Digital Healthcare Ltd (DH).

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