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J. Stein, P.P. Lee, D.F. Lobach, E.A. Postel, W.B. Rafferty, G. McGwin, Jr., L.G. Branch; Practice Characteristics of Eye Care Providers of Diabetes Eye Care . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(13):4417.
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The nature of eye care specialist practices in the community have evolved rapidly over the past 10 years, yet little data exist on the practice characteristics of optometrists and ophthalmologists who care for patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). As part of the baseline assessment of a randomized, controlled trial assessing the ability of interventions to enhance the use of evidence–based medicine in community–based eye care for DM, we collected information on the nature of 98 participating provider practices.
Participating providers completed a mail survey about themselves and their practices, including questions about personnel in their practice, availability of photography, and how they document their clinical care. Responses were entered into a database and then analyzed for optometrists and ophthalmologists.
Solo practice now constitutes a minority of practices for both optometry (38%) and ophthalmology (20%). However, the average numbers of personnel, the typical numbers of patients seen per week, and the use of electronic records (EMR) or paper for documentation differed by type of eye care provider.
Compared with provider practices in previously reported studies, the provider practices in our trial, which provide continuing care for patients with DM, self–report greater availability of technology (photography and EMR). Together with the increasing group nature of practices, the increased availability of improved technology may affect eye care delivery and models for care in the future.
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