This week, the California Healthcare Foundation (CHCF) announced that they were expanding a a pilot diabetes monitoring program, nearly quadrupling the number of clinics from the initial 12 to 42.
The purpose of the program was to perform retinal screening fro diabetic retinopathy, which often results in blindness. In the pilot, which took place in the Central Valley off California, a rural agricultural area with a large migrant population, the 12 clinics were set up with a retina scanning system that allowed doctors in remote clinics to take high-resolution retinal digital pictures, send them over the Web to California Berkeley School of Optometry for expert consultation and recommended follow-up procedures.
Over the two years of the pilot, a total of over 24,000 patients were screened, of which nearly 50% had signs off retinopathy, with 15% requiring direct referrals.
Nice example of what is possible, question is : Must foundations such as CHCF fund such programs? Where are the payers who would apparently have the most to gain from sponsorship of studies such as this?
While I applaud CHCF for sponsoring such new, innovative approaches to delivering care, I sure would like to see much, much, more from the payers.