Centre of Research Excellence -Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy - Closing the Loop for Diabetic Eye Care and Complication Risk Mitigation

CTC researchers are leading a CRE (Centre of Research Excellence) into diabetic retinopathy with Alice Springs Hospital (Tim Henderson), Flinders University (Jamie Craig), Menzies School of Health Research (Louise Maple-Brown), The University of Melbourne (Laima Brazionis) and The University of South Australia (Alex Brown).

Indigenous Australians with diabetes are at high risk of vision loss due to retinopathy. Timely shared information between healthcare professionals will improve ocular and general health and facilitate assessment of acceptability and efficacy of treatments.

Training of local health care workers and diabetes educators to facilitate retinal imaging, coordination of information with optometry and ophthalmology for regional reading, and web-based systems can improve communication and service delivery. We will implement and evaluate, in an indigenous Australian setting, a secure IT solution to improve eye care and outcomes, adaptable to national and international locations. The system will integrate an existent paper-based eye care encounter archive to improve continuity of care and provide a platform for exploring valuable insights. Interfacing with e-health systems, we will output electronic eye encounter report forms with diagnoses and management plans to optimise clinical decision making and shared care. In regions without accessible e-health records, easier data capture is facilitated through the use of specially designed mobile interfaces.

The tool will:

(i) record and facilitate communication of results from optometric assessments,

(ii) enable annotation of retinal images,

(iii) provide secure remote access to previous records including retinal images and risk factors,

(iv) include registry functions and reporting capabilities on anonymised data for research including health economic analyses.

This CRE will build healthcare capacity, perform scientific studies in collaboration with leading clinical and academic centres and conduct health economic analyses to inform policy and offer a model solution, and thus contribute to preservation of vision and quality of life for many people with diabetes globally.

The CRE is funded through the NHMRC.