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Staff Engagement Drives Teleretinal Program Success at HonorHealth

HonorHealth is a non-profit, community healthcare system serving an area of 1.6 million people in the greater Phoenix area. The network encompasses six acute-care hospitals, an extensive medical group, outpatient surgery centers, a cancer care network, clinical research, medical education, a foundation and community services.

honor health logo
honor health logo

HonorHealth primary care practices have utilized the Welch Allyn RetinaVue care delivery model for their teleretinal program since 2020. The RetinaVue care delivery model is a turnkey solution that allows organizations like HonorHealth to provide access to diabetic retinal exams in the primary care setting. The model consists of three core components:

  • The Welch Allyn RetinaVue 700 imager — an easy-to-use and affordable handheld retinal camera.
  • HIPAA-compliant, FDA-cleared, and highly secure RetinaVue Network software that integrates with EMRs.
  • Ophthalmologists and retina specialists at RetinaVue, P.C. interpret images and prepare a comprehensive diagnostic report that is delivered electronically to the provider in one business day.

Prior to program implementation, HonorHealth primary care practices experienced challenges in achieving their Star ratings for diabetic retinopathy exams. The health system set a goal for all providers to achieve 85% exam compliance and launched the program with RetinaVue 700 Imagers in six sites. Today, there are devices in 12 sites and HonorHealth plans to add more devices in additional sites to increase patient access.

Workflow Efficiencies to Identify Diabetes Care Gaps

On average only 60% of patients living with diabetes complete the annual diabetic retinopathy exam.1 HonorHealth staff leverage quality metric lists in their EMR to identify patients who are due for a diabetic retinopathy exam, with medical assistants reviewing weekly reports and working with patients to schedule appointments.

“Our team is dedicated to making sure patients receive the care they need. The intervention and outreach by our staff is critical to ensuring that happens.”

Cynamin Thomas, Practice Manager of Primary Care Arcadia, HonorHealth.

Portrait of Cynamin Thomas

Ongoing Review of Program Metrics

Leadership continues to focus on workflow and metrics for the teleretinal program post-go live. Data is reviewed monthly with representatives from each primary care location. “We connect for just 30 minutes each month, but it really keeps everyone accountable and focused,” said Thomas. The team tracks the percentage of completed patient exams and continues to see an increase month over month across the organization. Baxter Customer Success Specialists participate in these regular meetings to provide workflow consultation, best practices, and training support. Over the first two years of the program, all practices averaged at least an 82% diabetic retinopathy eye exam completion rate per quarter.

honor health logo

Strong Leadership Support

HonorHealth also stays focused on its diabetic retinopathy screening goals by having leaders front and center with the initiative. Matthew Anderson, MD, MBA, CPE, CMIO, HonorHealth Medical Group, plays a key role. He recently gave a presentation to primary care providers across the organization on the goals of the teleretinal program in terms of helping patients receive the care they need and the organization’s quality metrics. Following that outreach, practices experienced an increase in exam volume. Individual practice metrics are also used to highlight locations where exam volumes for patients requiring the screening are met or exceeded. A monthly “trophy” travels from practice to practice, and celebrations are held with free coffee and snacks to recognize the team’s efforts.

Communication is Key to Success

Open and ongoing communication around the teleretinal program has driven much of the program’s success. HonorHealth uses frequent check-ins to provide a forum for teams to ask questions, practice using the camera, and understand the broader goals of the program. “Overcommunicate,” says Thomas. “Even if it feels like you are repeating yourself over and over. Staff won’t always be vocal about questions they have or support they need.” Thomas has found this dialogue ensures staff can help patients living with diabetes have access to diabetic retinopathy screenings that can preserve their vision.2

* References
  1. Diabetic Retinopathy Preferred Practice Pattern® from the American Academy of Ophthalmology,, ISSN 0161-6420/19. Accessed July 29, 2020.
  2. “New Treatment Options, Better Hope of Preventing Vision Loss from Diabetes | National Eye Institute.” Published November 19, 2015. Accessed September 9, 2022.
Baxter, Hillrom, RetinaVue and Welch Allyn are trademarks of Baxter International Inc. or its subsidiaries. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.