Tag Archives: screening

Telemedicine: Helping Healthcare Switch From Reactive to Proactive

For decades healthcare has focused more on treating the fallout of health problems after they had become full-blown issues as opposed to screening and preventing future health problems from arising in the first place. Luckily, this is changing as telemedicine and other technologically driven medical advancements make it much easier to screen, check up on and preventatively treat certain health issues like diabetes, heart disease and blindness before they fully develop or become too severe.

6 Examples of Predictive Medical Technology

“Predictive technology” comes to patients today in such readily accessible forms as:

  1. Intelligent phone apps that can take a patient’s vitals and transmit the info to a doctor
  2. Healthcare alerting engines like SARA (Situational Awareness and Response Assistant) help lessen the workload of overburdened nurses, doctors and care attendants by helping monitor and attend to hospital or nursing home patients.
  3. CISOR patient monitoring systems.
  4. Wearable smart technology such as fitness sensors that monitor a person’s normal vitals and routines and can help get them back on track when they deviate a healthy path.
  5. Telemedicine advancements such as mobile retinopathy screening devices that can detect early eye diseases before they become problematic.
  6. Advanced types of screening for silent diseases like lung cancer.

How Telemedicine Companies are Helping Make the Shift

Telemedicine companies like DocChat are help improve healthcare accessibility and affordability which in turn can help patients receive care in a timely manner instead of letting a health problem worsen while waiting months or longer for access to healthcare. Telemedicine companies also act well as a method of screening which problems require immediate medical assistance and which are not serious. Telemedicine is also excellent for monitoring and managing chronic conditions to ensure the patient’s state isn’t silently deteriorating or worsening.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impressive strides medical technology is making. Thanks for visiting DocChat! Our board-certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to assist you with any of your medical queries!



Diabetic Retinopathy Awareness

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye diseases that affect diabetics. It damages the tiny blood vessels of the retina (the back lining of the eye), causing partial or severe vision loss if left untreated. Diabetic retinopathy is usually asymptomatic until the disease has progressed so screening is of utmost importance to catch the disease early and improve prognosis. Let’s take a look at some more facts about diabetic retinopathy:

  • Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of blindness among diabetics, and a top cause of vision impairment among young-to-middle-aged Americans.
  • A study conducted by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that approximately 4.2 million American adults have diabetic retinopathy and 655,000 of them had severe vision impairments as a result.
  • There are 4 stages of DR: mild, moderate and severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (severe and permanent vision loss).
  • DR can cause blood vessels in the retina to bleed or leak, or it can cause abnormal vessels to replicate which may lead to scarring.
  • DR can also lead to another condition called diabetic macular edema (DME) which causes swelling in the macula area of the retina, worsening vision loss.
  • Anyone who is diabetic is at risk of developing DR. The risk escalates with age. Pregnancy may also fast-track diabetic retinopathy.
  • While there are usually no symptoms in the initial stage, symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may include: seeing ‘floating spots’, blurred vision, distorted vision or impaired color vision.
  • Prevention of diabetic vision loss includes: lead a healthy lifestyle, control sugars, maintain a healthy weight, quit smoking and get regular eye screening (early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of heavy vision loss by 95%).
  • Effective treatments include: laser or other types of surgery, certain medications like anti-inflammatories or corticosteroids, and injections.

That sums up our look at diabetic retinopathy, and remember, since there are no early signs it is of utmost importance to get regular yearly eye screenings to catch signs of diabetic eye disease early!  Check out our post on diabetic neuropathy next – thanks for visiting DocChat!

Telemedicine – A Revolutionary Blindness Screening Tool?

Telemedicine can be useful for various types of screening and monitoring of diseases (for example Telestroke monitoring), but unfortunately both doctors and patients are slow-moving to embrace such a convenient answer to health issues that can be caught early and fixed, like diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease associated with diabetes that causes progressive damage to the retinas, often leading to total blindness if left undetected or untreated. Diabetic retinopathy affects up to 80% of diabetics who have had the disease for longer than a couple decades, however, with early detection and regular check-ups, medications and lifestyle changes, retinopathy can be slowed or even stopped. The problem is detecting it in the first place. Many people don’t get the opportunity to regularly (if ever) visit an eye doctor, and the problem is so gradual that some people don’t realize just how bad their eyes have gotten until it is too late to reverse damage.

A Potential Fix?

Recently in Engliand, the implementation of a nationwide telehealth program utilizing mobile blindness and retinopathy screening units has caught thousands of cases early enough to treat, effectively neutralizing diabetic retinopathy as England’s leading cause of blindness. Such a program in the United States could achieve similarly impressive results, if the American populous continues on to better embrace telemedicine.

Telemedicine and Retinopathy of Prematurity

While diabetes eye screening is just an idea so far in America, a relatively new telemedicine system has been actively preventing newborn blindness here, targeting and helping prevent the terrifying condition retinopathy of prematurity (RoP). Sadly, few are aware of the serious blindness risk faced by premature babies born under 2 pounds. They face this devastating type of retina destruction unless it is detected and treated within their first month of life. Thanks to telemedicine, necessary screening is becoming more available to help detect this vision problems of babies.

Last Look at Telemedicine for Eye Care

Telemedicine eye screening could be revolutionary when it comes to providing cost effective screenings to diabetic patients who can’t otherwise access eye care, rural patients, those without health insurance or those in nursing homes. Assistant professor of ophthalmology at Kellogg Eye Center, Dr. Maria Woodward says of telemedicine for eye screenings “Telemedicine has been shown to be a safe method to provide monitoring for diabetic eye care.” However, in a recent study only about 4% of people polled even heard about telemedicine – so there certainly needs to be more awareness to increase acceptance and demand so these services can become available to the general populace. So hopefully, we will begin to see more support and demand for a service similar to England’s which can revolutionize diabetic retinopathy just like it has started to do for RoP.

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