Purpose: While diabetes is a chronic disease, in many health care systems patients with diabetes at risk of diabetic retinopathy (DR) are managed in hospital settings. Aim of this feasibility study is to assess the quality of care and economic benefits of a shared care model managing patients at risk of DR in a primary eye care clinic (PEC) compared with a current tertiary specialist outpatient clinic (SOC).
Methods: A randomized trial was performed, to compare a PEC with a SOC in Singapore. The trial patients included those previously seen at the SOC, and having no DR or stable mild non proliferative (NPDR) with no macular edema, no visual and DR deterioration. Primary outcomes were clinical management. Secondary outcomes were patient satisfaction and cost of consultation. Differences analysis used equivalence testing and generalized odds ratios (GOR).
Results: The trial included 231 patients, 83.1% classified as no DR (PEC: 79.1%; SOC: 87.1%) and 16.9% as stable mild NPDR (PEC: 20.9%; SOC: 12.9%). DR management at PEC was significantly equivalent to that received at the SOC (rate difference 2.56%; CI: (−1.61% to 6.74%)) and 4.29%; CI: (0.14%–8.45%), respectively. Patient satisfaction at the PEC was equally high when compared to SOC (GOR: 1.71; CI: (0.50–2.00)). Direct costs per patient visit was 45% lower at PEC compared to SOC.
Conclusions: Our feasibility trial showed that patients with diabetes with no or stable DR receive similar clinical care and management at a lower-cost PEC setting, are equally satisfied with the service compared to tertiary eye care. A follow-up study is necessary to validate these findings. Managing patients with diabetes at risk of DR at a PEC may be a safe and effective shared care model to improve accessibility for patients while enhancing professional collaboration between hospital and community settings.

Additional Metadata
Keywords diabetic retinopathy, chronic care management, integrated care, economic benefits
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.5334/ijic.4208, hdl.handle.net/1765/119745
Mathur, R, de Korne, D.F, Wong, T.Y, Tan, D.T.H, Chiang, P.P, Wong, E.Y.M, … Lamoureux, E.L. (2019). Shared Care for Patients with Diabetes at Risk of Retinopathy. doi:10.5334/ijic.4208