Patients views on a new surveillance pathway involving allied non-medical staff for people with treated diabetic macular oedema and proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Prior L., Lois N., EMERALD Study Group None.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: To explore acceptability by patients and health care professionals of a new surveillance pathway for people with previously treated and stable diabetic macular oedema (DMO) and/or proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). SUBJECT/METHODS: Structured discussions in 10 focus groups with patients; two with ophthalmic photographers/graders, and one with ophthalmologists, held across the UK as part of a large diagnostic accuracy study (EMERALD). RESULTS: The most prominent issues raised by patients concerned (i) expertise of the various professionals within clinic, (ii) quality of interactions with clinic professionals, especially the flow of information from professionals to patients, and (iii) wish to be treated holistically. Ophthalmologists suggested such issues could be best dealt with via a programme of patient education and tended to overlook deeper implications of patient concerns for the organisation of services. CONCLUSION: For patients, the clinical service should not only include the identification and treatment of disease but also exchange of information, reassurance, and mitigation of anxiety. Alterations in the standard care pathway need to take account of such concerns and their implications, in addition to any assessments of 'efficiency' that may flow from changes in diagnostic technology, or the division of professional labour.