December 3, 2019
Westside Family Healthcare receives Highmark BluePrints for the Community award for Telehealth Diabetes Retinal Screening Program
Wilmington, DE (December 3, 2019) – Westside Family Healthcare (Westside) was awarded $93,000 in 2018 from Highmark BluePrints for the Community to support the start-up operations of its Telehealth Diabetic Retinal Screening Program. The purpose of the Retinal Screening Program is to expand access to retinal eye screenings for Westside’s patients with diabetes. The funding enabled the purchase of 6 Welch Allyn RetinaVue cameras and supports the program’s operating costs.
The Westside Family Healthcare Telehealth Diabetes Retinal Screening Program aligns with Westside’s commitment to enhance its care delivery model, improve health outcomes for patients with diabetes, and improve access to care through telehealth-based services. In 2017, 3,119 Westside patients were diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. Due to multiple barriers that include cost, transportation, time off from work, and accessibility, only a fraction of those patients received an eye screening off-site by a specialist. Failure to be screened can cause a delayed or missed diagnosis of diabetes-related vision loss. Since the implementation of the retinal screening program in 2018, Westside has provided 683 retinal screenings in-house.
“By meeting patients where they are, we’ve increased the number of patients who receive this critical test and can determine which patients need further care sooner,” said Deborah Bryant, MSN, FNP, Westside’s Director of Clinical Operations. “Additionally, we can teach patients about changing their diet, managing sugar levels, and the benefits of regular screenings,” Bryant noted.
Performing annual retinal screenings on-site during regularly scheduled medical appointments enables Westside to reduce barriers for patients with diabetes who otherwise would not receive their annual retinal screenings. In doing so, Westside intends to decrease vision loss associated with diabetic retinopathy.
“At Highmark BCBS Delaware, we are committed to giving back to our community in order to address the health issues affecting our families, friends and neighbors,” said Nicholas Moriello, President of Highmark Delaware. “Retinal screenings play an important role in the identification of, and continued care for, diabetes, allowing for better treatment and outcomes. We look forward to helping more people alongside Westside through this technology.”
About Westside Family Healthcare
Westside Family Healthcare is a Joint Commission Accredited non-profit community health system with locations currently in Wilmington, Northeast Wilmington, Newark, Bear/New Castle, and Dover providing care to 28,316 patients through 99,012 visits in 2018. Westside is the largest community health system in the state, providing family medical, dental, prenatal, and behavioral health services, regardless of ability to pay. Thirty three percent of Westside Family Healthcare’s budget in 2018 comprised of Federal funds. Care is provided for all individuals, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Learn more about Westside at www.westsidehealth.org.
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