Online training supports diabetic retinopathy screening in primary health care

  • Gp training for diabetic retinopathy screening camera and diabetic retinopathy retinal image

Photo:University of Queensland

People with diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a condition that damages blood vessels inside the retina, and which, if not treated, can lead to vision loss and blindness.

Diabetic retinopathy screening and monitoring in general practice and primary health care are now supported through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

Research that informed the listing on the MBS has been utilised to produce an online practice implementation module which aims to assist practices to make maximum use of the MBS items. Establishing a functional diabetic retinopathy (DR) screening service in general practice and primary health care services provides a comprehensive guide for GPs, practice managers, practice nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers to set up a functional diabetic retinopathy screening service which suits their practice.

The training module is based on the findings of a three-year National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) trial which identified that general practices, with appropriate camera and in-practice training, achieved mean effective diabetic retinopathy screening rates of 99 per cent compared with an NHMRC estimated national rate of 50 per cent. The module addresses perspectives of patients and practitioners regarding optimal screening, and is suitable for urban, rural and Aboriginal Medical Service settings.

During the program GPs and practice staff will learn about the new diabetic retinopathy MBS item numbers and requirements for a safe and effective DR service which suit their particular practice and community.

The module is approved for continuing professional development points and can be undertaken as a practice or as GP-only training. The online self-test allows participants to be confident in the accuracy of their post-training image interpretation.

The module takes approximately six hours to complete and costs $350 (this price includes access for all practice staff members via a dedicated log-in).

GPs or practices wishing to get further information or enrol can do so on-line, by following the link:

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