[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been at the vanguard of information technology (IT) and use of comprehensive electronic health records. Despite the widespread use of health IT in the VA, there are still a variety of key questions that need to be answered in order to maximize the utility of IT to improve patient access to quality services. This paper summarizes the potential of IT to enhance healthcare access, key gaps in current evidence linking IT and access, and methodologic challenges for related research. We also highlight four key issues to be addressed when implementing and evaluating the impact of IT interventions on improving access to quality care: 1) Understanding broader needs/perceptions of the Veteran population and their caregivers regarding use of IT to access healthcare services and related information. 2) Understanding individual provider/clinician needs/perceptions regarding use of IT for patient access to healthcare. 3) System/Organizational issues within the VA and other organizations related to the use of IT to improve access. 4) IT integration and information flow with non-VA entities. While the VA is used as an example, the issues are salient for healthcare systems that are beginning to take advantage of IT solutions.
Journal of General Internal Medicine 11/2011; 26 Suppl 2:623-7. · 3.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to compare, using a 12-month time frame, the cost-effectiveness of a non-mydriatic digital tele-ophthalmology system (Joslin Vision Network) versus traditional clinic-based ophthalmoscopy examinations with pupil dilation to detect proliferative diabetic retinopathy and its consequences. Decision analysis techniques, including Monte Carlo simulation, were used to model the use of the Joslin Vision Network versus conventional clinic-based ophthalmoscopy among the entire diabetic populations served by the Indian Health Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the active duty Department of Defense. The economic perspective analyzed was that of each federal agency. Data sources for costs and outcomes included the published literature, epidemiologic data, administrative data, market prices, and expert opinion. Outcome measures included the number of true positive cases of proliferative diabetic retinopathy detected, the number of patients treated with panretinal laser photocoagulation, and the number of cases of severe vision loss averted. In the base-case analyses, the Joslin Vision Network was the dominant strategy in all but two of the nine modeled scenarios, meaning that it was both less costly and more effective. In the active duty Department of Defense population, the Joslin Vision Network would be more effective but cost an extra 1,618 dollars per additional patient treated with panretinal laser photo-coagulation and an additional 13,748 dollars per severe vision loss event averted. Based on our economic model, the Joslin Vision Network has the potential to be more effective than clinic-based ophthalmoscopy for detecting proliferative diabetic retinopathy and averting cases of severe vision loss, and may do so at lower cost.
Telemedicine and e-Health 01/2006; 11(6):641-51. · 1.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Digital retinal imaging with remote image interpretation (teleretinal imaging) is an emerging healthcare technology for screening patients for diabetic retinopathy (DR). The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) convened an expert panel in 2001 to determine and resolve the requisite clinical, quality and training, information technology, and healthcare infrastructure issues associated with deploying a teleretinal imaging system. The panel formulated consensus recommendations based on available literature and identified areas of uncertainty that merited further clarification or research. Subsequent VHA experience with teleretinal imaging and accumulated scientific evidence support nationwide regionalized deployment of teleretinal imaging to screen for DR. The goal is to screen approximately 75,000 patients in the first year of the program, which commenced in 2006. This program will increase patients' access to screening for DR, provide outcomes data, and offer a unique platform for systematically evaluating the role of this technology in the care of diabetic eye disease and routine eye-care practice.
The Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 01/2006; 43(6):741-8. · 1.78 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Telehealth holds the promise of increased adherence to evidenced-based medicine and improved consistency of care. Goals for an ocular telehealth program include preserving vision, reducing vision loss, and providing better access to medicine. Establishing recommendations for an ocular telehealth program may improve clinical outcomes and promote informed and reasonable patient expectations. This document addresses current diabetic retinopathy telehealth clinical and administrative issues and provides recommendations for designing and implementing a diabetic retinopathy ocular telehealth care program. The recommendations also form the basis for evaluating diabetic retinopathy telehealth techniques and technologies. Recommendations in this document are based on careful reviews of current evidence, medical literature and clinical practice. They do not, however, replace sound medical judgment or traditional clinical decision-making. "Telehealth Practice Recommendations for Diabetic Retinopathy" will be annually reviewed and updated to reflect evolving technologies and clinical guidelines.
Telemedicine and e-Health 02/2004; 10(4):469-82. · 1.40 Impact Factor