By Scott Grissett and Heidi Munson
Su Clinica is a non-profit community health center that has served the residents of Cameron and Willacy counties in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas since 1971, providing care at clinics in Brownsville, Harlingen, Raymondville, and Santa Rosa. Su Clinica hopes to promote a healthier community by providing access to high-value, comprehensive and holistic healthcare services and accelerating the transformation of healthcare.
Thanks to a partnership with the University of Texas School of Public Health, the Su Clinica Brownsville and Su Clinica Harlingen clinics were both introduced to the Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) solution.
IRIS is a telemedicine technology company that partners with primary care providers to perform the diabetic retinal exam in their clinics, receiving diagnoses back through a cloud-based platform and closing the loop on this element of diabetic patient care.
For patients living with diabetes, an image of the back of the eye, otherwise known as the retina, may mean the difference between healthy vision and blindness. However, less than 40% of patients receive an annual diabetic eye exam to capture those potentially sight-saving images. The primary care providers at UT School of Public Health and Su Clinica recognized the serious threat diabetes poses to healthy vision, and brought the IRIS diabetic eye exam into their practices, bringing the exam to the patients to detect eye disease early enough to treat and prevent vision loss.
Between the two clinics, Su Clinica was able to identify 3,000 patients that had diabetes. Their goal was to perform 1,000 exams (30% of patients with diabetes) by December 31, 2018. No problem, right?
Su Clinica went live at Harlingen and Brownsville during the week of October 16th, leaving only 2 months to achieve this goal.
During implementation, it was obvious that a feeling of pride and fellowship exists among the Su Clinica staff members. Su Clinica leadership and Su Clinica staff members had prepared their teams well for the implementation of the IRIS Solution. As clinic staff became comfortable operating the camera, uploading images, and receiving results, they would then eagerly work with other team members to help them reach the same level of comfort with the system. When opportunities arose concerning patient and clinic workflows, the Su Clinica team rallied to develop a solution that would be in the best interest of the patient and clinic.
So, how’d they do?
By December 31st, they had exceeded their goal of performing the DRE on 1,000 patients. More importantly, they had identified disease in more than 500 patients. These people, who might otherwise continue undiagnosed, are now empowered to save their vision and improve their health.
It is clients like Su Clinica that remind us of why we do what we do. They are committed to helping their patients achieve better outcomes and protect their vision, creating a healthier 2019 and beyond.