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What Is the Cross-Specialty Collaboration for Retina Disease?

A look at how the specialty functions in telemedicine, and how it could work better with primary care physicians and endocrinologists.

Findings from an assessment of US primary care center screening data showed patient eyes with moderate to severe nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) may be at the greatest risk of progression toward severe diabetic retinopathy, which could result in blindness.

The data, presented by study author Geeta Lalwani, MD, of Boulder Community Health at the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) 2020 Virtual Sessions this Saturday, presented a trio of clinical subtypes by which a diabetic patient with retinopathy may progress to.

Ultimately, Lalwani and colleagues’ findings could inform prescribing strategies and lead to accurate pursuits of diagnostic biomarkers for the debilitating ophthalmic condition.

But it could help to know what the collaboration is among the involved specialties: primary care (where patients are first being screened), endocrinology (where diabetes management and prevention is addressed) and, of course, ophthalmology.

In the second segment of an interview with HCPLive®, Lalwani discussed the relevant diabetic retinopathy stakeholder network—a connection which is still not fully established.

“I think we’re getting there,” Lalwani said. “Obviously, this was done in a non-retina setting.”

An interesting addition to the retinopathy referral dynamic could be artificial intelligence (AI), she suggested—means of more efficiently logging and tracking patients with early identified risk of worsened disease.

On the topic of telemedicine, Lalwani discussed the simplistic measures by which her field has adapted to the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, but the complicated adoption of retina-based imaging which is still developing alongside other innovations like AI.