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American Health Network Leverages Telemedicine to Bring Diabetic Retinal Imaging to Patients

Diabetic eye disease is the number one cause of adult blindness
INDIANAPOLIS, IN.– October 6, 2017 –Undiagnosed diabetic retinopathy threatens as many as 1 in 10 patients with diabetes in the United States each year, however less than half of all patients comply with the recommended annual eye screening*. Today, American Health Network announced it has deployed a diagnostic telemedicine solution throughout its primary care facilities in an effort to improve patient compliance and accessibility to the sight-saving diabetic retinopathy exam (DRE).
“We understood the challenges that were preventing our patients from receiving the exam,” said Dr. Ben Park, President, American Health Network. “We felt placement of the exam in a primary care setting would be an optimal solution for the patient regardless of AHNi reimbursement potential”.
AHN is on a mission to improve the health of its patients. Without all of the information, it is a challenge to ensure the diabetic population is receiving the most comprehensive treatments to manage and control their disease. In 2016 only half of AHN’s patients with diabetes were receiving annual eye exams, leaving 13,500 patients unexamined and at risk. Removal of these barriers would be critical to closing this gap and ensuring every patient with diabetes receives an exam.
Partnering with Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) the AHNi program uses cameras that enable the DRE to be completed within minutes and without dilation, providing an accurate diagnosis that capture eye disease well before the patient ever notices a problem with their sight. Best practices and operationalized workflows incorporate system integration across financial, clinical, technical and operational systems. Findings and referral recommendations are transmitted back to the originating primary care physician and directly into the EHR within hours. From there, the data are generated for the referral, and if needed, for billing.
“A significant number of patients with diabetes don’t realize their eyes are threatened until it’s too late,” said IRIS CEO Jason Crawford. “IRIS is focused on helping forward thinking organizations like American Health Network to end preventable blindness. Our partnership is having a positive impact on the diabetic population in the community by implementing innovative technology at the primary care level, relieving common barriers by making it easier and more accessible for patients to receive their annual diabetic retinopathy exam.”
Since implementation, clinics have examined more than 3000 patients with diabetes, finding higher than 30% of this population to have eye disease and 166 at imminent risk for vision loss.
HEDIS scores are steadily increasing across multiple payer contracts with several offices trending above 90% total compliance. The HCC/RAF scores in risk-based contracts are also steadily improving, which means payers are compensating AHN to care for this high-risk population, yielding a satisfactory ROI for AHN.
““Implementation of this program has allowed our physicians to do what they do best—provide outstanding care to all of our patients with diabetes.”, Dr. Ben Park.
*Source: Prevalence of undiagnosed diabetic retinopathy among inpatients with diabetes: the diabetic retinopathy inpatient study (DRIPS) Jessica J Kovarik, Andrew W Eller, Lauren A Willard, Jiaxi Ding, Jann M Johnston, and Evan L Waxman
Published online 2016 Feb 16. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2015-000164
About American Health Network
American Health Network is a large physician group practice with over 70 offices and more than 200 primary care physicians and specialists in Indiana and Ohio. The organization is driven with the visionary purpose of providing high-quality, cost-effective care, supported by a robust electronic infrastructure in our quest to provide exceptional care to our patients. American Health Network is a part of OptumHealth.
About IRIS: Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems
Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) is a Pensacola, Fla.-based company founded in 2011 by nationally recognized retina surgeon Dr. Sunil Gupta, with a vision to end preventable blindness through the development and deployment of retinal diagnostic services in the primary care setting. The company's IRIS solution is an FDA-cleared, telemedicine service that has improved quality, expanded access and reduced costs for diabetic retinopathy exams across the U.S. A team of physicians, technicians and practice management experts at IRIS partner with forward-thinking providers and payers to enhance quality patient outcomes and the overall healthcare system. IRIS is the recipient of the 2016 New Product Innovation Award in Diabetic Retinopathy in North America by Frost & Sullivan. For additional information, visit

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