One of the questions ocular health practitioners ask about ultra-widefield retinal imaging (UWF™) is regarding the justification of a voluntary procedure that entails added cost. Will patients really be interested in a new and possibly unfamiliar diagnostic procedure that’s not covered by insurance?
The core issue is patient perception. If a procedure is not paid for by insurance, is it really necessary? Here are some practical suggestions about how to talk to your patients about the importance of optomap.
The Patient Wants to Hear From You
While your office staff are an important part of your practice, your patients want your opinion. Even if your staff has already discussed optomap with the patient, take the time to personally explain how optomap works and its benefits. Focus on the advantages over conventional imaging, including ease of use, a wider field of view, and the ability to review and store high-resolution images.
Your personal attention to your patients’ questions and your own enthusiasm about the technology will send a powerful message.
What About Scripts?
We’ve all laughed at the desperate schemes of Ralphie Parker. He’s the 9-year-old narrator of the movie “A Christmas Story,” which follows his desperate attempts to convince his parents, his teachers and even Santa Claus that what he really wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun with the compass in the stock.
Well, we all know how well that turned out.
“A Christmas Story” reminds us that we need to take extra care around the holidays to make sure the toys and gifts our children receive are safe and age-appropriate. It’s why Prevent Blindness America has declared December “Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month.”
Consider the risks presented by the wrong toy. A survey by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that each year toy-related mishaps injure more than 1/4 million children under the age of 15. Almost 100,000 of these accidents occurred in infants and toddlers under 5 years of age. Another study found that over the course of one year toy makers around the world recalled more than 19 million toys because of safety concerns.
Holiday Child Safety — Everyone’s Job
One of the ways to measure the impact of a diagnostic technology is its ability to reveal insights into the origins and progression of disease. A recent study1 using ultra-widefield (UWF™) imaging is providing researchers and practitioners with a new look at diabetic retinopathy (DR). It suggests a novel way to characterize DR that may lead to a better understanding of where and how it develops.
Diabetic Retinopathy and Ultra-widefield Imaging
Over the past decade, UWF imaging has become an important tool in the assessment and treatment of DR. UWF optomap® color imaging, performed without pupil dilation, is recognized as providing diagnostic accuracy equal to the gold standard, ETDRS seven-field color fundus photography (7SF)2. Similar results have been documented for UWF fluorescein angiography, or optomap fa. Studies using optomap fa uncovered significantly more retinal vascular pathology in DR patients as compared to 7SF imaging.3
Both optomap and optomap fa give the practitioner a 200° view of the retina – a significant improvement of the 90° view afforded by 7SF imaging. This wider view of the peripheral retina has created an opportunity to develop a more complete picture of how DR develops and progresses.
Definitions and Methods