Panel Discussion Focuses on Disruption’s Impact on Telemedicine


Panel Discussion Focuses on Disruption’s Impact on Telemedicine

IRIS CEO Featured as Panelist at 2016 American Telemedicine Association Fall Forum

PENSACOLA, Fla., Oct. 11, 2016 – Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) Chief Executive Officer Jason Crawford joined industry experts in a  panel discussion, “Outsiders at the Gate – What will disrupt healthcare and what should you do about it?” during the American Telemedicine Association’s 2016 Fall Forum held Sept. 28-30 in New Orleans, La.  

Technology innovation from outsiders has completely transformed retail, banking, entertainment, and other industries and similar disruptions have been attempted for healthcare by many of the world’s largest technology companies with little success.  Today, as hundreds of companies attempt to be the of healthcare, the panel discussion focused on questions about the likely disruptions that will occur within the next five years and how these will affect the current use of telemedicine.

Other participants included Alexis Gilroy, partner, Jones Day, who served as moderator; Grant Chamberlain, managing director, Ziegler, a privately held, specialty investment bank; and Shaival Kapadia, MD, chief medical officer and co-founder of Iggbo, which uses mobile technologies to organize and deliver high-quality blood-drawing services. 

In his presentation, Crawford told attendees how half of the 30 million Americans suffering from diabetes currently go unexamined for the leading cause of blindness, diabetic retinopathy. He explained that diabetes is the fastest growing disease in the U.S. and early detection can reduce the risk of severe vision loss by 90 percent and significantly reduce long-term healthcare costs. 

“Of those 15 million, 28-and-a-half percent are suspected to have pathology, yet they have no idea,” he said. “Just to put that in perspective, there are 4.2 million people, that’s the entire population of the state of Louisiana, who are seeing healthcare providers today in our health system but have no idea a disease is progressing in the back of their eye.”

New technology like the FDA-cleared IRIS cloud-based service is being driven by the transition from fee-for-service to value-based healthcare, Crawford added, and a diabetic retinal exams (DRE) is now a consensus-quality measure with primary care physicians being held accountable for making sure patients are screened. This, in turn, has seen more health systems “excited about launching programs that will drive adoption.” 

He called IRIS “a disruptive approach to solve a problem that’s worth solving,” describing it as “an elegant solution that can be run in the primary care office.”

Another important result from IRIS adoption, he continued, is the evidence-based outcomes from IRIS use. Crawford cited the success seen in the Cox Health System, which, before IRIS adoption, had a 32-percent DRE compliance rate with 16,320 unexamined patients. Following implementation of the IRIS solution, nearly 2,000 patients received DREs, with 617 determined to have a previously undetected eye disease.

“So when you look at their results just in the first three-and-a-half months (of the Cox Health IRIS adoption),” Crawford said, “Claims have been billed as well as being able to increase their risk score.” Quality, too, has improved, he added, with CoxHealth going from a 32 percent to 78 percent compliance rate “and we’re making a big impact on the patients that are being treated and cared for.”

Crawford said IRIS was developed with a vision to create an “end-to-end platform that focused on everything from opportunity identification to reimbursement” and identified three keys to a disruptive healthcare technology’s success: operationalizing it; delivering high-quality care; and not just adopting it “to check the box.”

“If you check the box on the quality measure, what about the patient and getting them the care they need?” he asked.

Looking ahead, Crawford said the patient information gained using IRIS technology can be utilized for other areas of healthcare delivery, including using IRIS software in determining risk for cardiovascular disease and identifying which diabetes patients are the most at risk for kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease and other ailments “so that you can best leverage your resources of case managers and diabetic educators.”

About the American Telemedicine Association
The American Telemedicine Association is the leading international resource and advocate promoting the use of advanced remote medical technologies. ATA and its diverse membership work to fully integrate telemedicine into healthcare systems to improve quality, equity, and affordability of healthcare throughout the world. Established in 1993, ATA is headquartered in Washington, DC. For more information please visit

About Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems

Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) is a Pensacola, Florida-based company founded by nationally recognized retina surgeon Dr. Sunil Gupta, with a vision to end preventable blindness through the development and deployment of retinal screening services in the primary care setting.  The company’s IRIS solution is an FDA-cleared, cloud-based service that has improved quality, expanded access, and reduced costs for diabetic retinal exams across the U.S. IRIS is the comprehensive intake to reimbursement solution that optimizes workflow, images, and outcomes. 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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