Assessment of annual diabetic eye examination using telemedicine technology among underserved patients in primary care setting

Elham Hatef, Miriam Alexander, Bruce Vanderver, Peter Fagan, Michael Albert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


CONTEXT: Digital retinal imaging with the application of telemedicine technology shows promising results for screening of diabetic retinopathy in the primary care setting without requiring an ophthalmologist on site. AIMS: We assessed whether the establishment of telemedicine technology was an effective and efficient way to increase completion of annual eye examinations among underserved, low-income (Medicaid) diabetic patients. SETTINGS AND DESIGN: A cross-sectional study in a primary care setting. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Health care claims data were collected before the establishment of telemedicine technology in 2010 and after its implementation in 2012 for Medicaid patients at East Baltimore Medical Center (EBMC), an urban health center that is part of Johns Hopkins Health System. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS USED: The primary outcome measure was the compliance rate of patients with diabetic eye examinations; calculated as the number of diabetic patients with a completed telemedicine eye examination, divided by the total number of diabetic patients. RESULTS: In 2010, EBMC treated 213 Medicaid diabetic patients and in 2012 treated 228 Medicaid patients. In 2010, 47.89% of patients completed their annual diabetic eye examination while in 2012 it was 78.07% (P < 0.001). After adjustment for age, gender, HgBA1C, disease severity, using resource utilization band score as a proxy, and medication possession ratio; telemedicine technology significantly increased the compliance (odds ratio: 4.98, P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Adherence to annual eye examinations is low in the studied Medicaid diabetic population. Telemedicine technology in a primary care setting can increase compliance with annual eye examinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-212
Number of pages6
JournalMiddle East African Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Diabetic eye examination
  • Medicaid patients
  • telemedicine technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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