Failure to Manage Diabetic Eye Disease Screenings Carries Staggering Costs
The way providers so poorly manage diabetic retinopathy is a poster child for what's so wrong about our healthcare system.
This potentially blinding eye disease affects up to 45% of the 26 million Americans with diabetes. It is silent and gradually erodes vision in a way patients often don't notice until it's too late. Unless they're regularly screened for the disease.
It's also very expensive. The malady carries a $900,000 lifetime medical and societal cost per patient.
We could and should do better by these patients, but here's how we thwart efficient quality of care and allow the diabetes cost curve to soar:
We rely on referrals. We want primary care doctors to give their diabetic patients a referral to an ophthalmology retina specialist for annual eye screening, necessitating they make an appointment with yet another practitioner, who in remote or low-income areas may be hard to find.
We have long realized that about half of these patients never make it to the test, either because they can't afford it, live too far away, or just don't understand the urgency. In low-income populations only 10% of patients with diabetes are getting screened for eye disease.
- CEO Exchange: Preparing for Population Health
- Advocate, NorthShore Deal Would Create 16-Hospital System
- Better HCAHPS Scores Protect Revenue
- Narrow Networks Cut Costs, Not Quality, Economists Say
- 3 Strategies for Retaining Millennial Employees
- Power of price: In South FL and the nation, healthcare costs often are shrouded in secrecy
- Two NY hospitals to offer free hip and knee replacement surgeries for qualifying patients in December
- Hospital mergers may lead to higher prices
- Healthcare data of 1 million NJ patients compromised since 2009
- CEO Exchange: Pressure is On to Partner, Drive Quality