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TriCore Adds Teleretinal Screening Application to Improve Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosis

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., May 13, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TriCore Reference Laboratories announced today it is providing retinal screening for diabetic retinopathy in an effort to expand diabetes preventative care in New Mexico. In collaboration with VisionQuest i-Rx, TriCore offers an end-to-end telemedicine based screening solution that helps readily identify and diagnose patients with diabetic retinal disease.

"Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss among adults in the United States, and in New Mexico this screening is becoming incredibly necessary and relevant. It is a growing epidemic yet is completely preventable" said Dr. Michael J. Crossey, TriCore's Chief Medical Officer. With early detection and treatment the risk of severe vision reduces loss by greater than 90%. Our purpose is to proactively combine various point-of-care technologies to manage chronic disease outcomes."

The screening process uses a telemedicine platform where three nonmydriatic (without dilation) digital fundus photographs are acquired of each eye. The digital photos are electronically transmitted to an online Picture Archival Communication System (PACS) for evaluation by a licensed optometrist from Eye Associates of New Mexico. Providers may receive results in an electronic record for simple EHR incorporation. For the low percentage of patients needing additional care, VisionQuest will coordinate follow-up care with the patient's respective health carrier.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) both recommend annual retinal eye exams for patients with diabetes. Studies on teleretinal screening programs confirm that patients with diabetes have demonstrated improved A1C outcomes in addition to improved glycemic control, blood pressure levels, and total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels at 1 year follow-up. With this teleretinal system, providers can order the screen in addition to normal routine blood tests so they may be fully informed on their patients' health status and patients can become compliant with their comprehensive diabetes care within one visit to TriCore.

"This solves a clear necessity by assuring patients needing eye care receive it, providers become more informed on their patients' health, and diabetes population health management can be more effective," said VisionQuest President and CEO Dr. Peter Soliz. "We are very excited to partner with TriCore in an effort to make a significant impact on preventing blindness due to diabetes."

According to the American Diabetes Association, New Mexicans are increasingly feeling the effects of diabetes as thousands of people suffer from the disease, and many others may have diabetes and not know it! It is estimated that one out of every three children born after 2000 in the United States will be directly affected by diabetes. The New Mexico Department of Health reports diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death for New Mexicans.

For more information about TriCore, visit www.tricore.org.

About TriCore

TriCore Reference Laboratories provides the majority of clinical diagnostic testing for New Mexico and offers solutions and services in population health management and targeted intervention strategies.

About VisionQuest

VisionQuest Biomedical, LLC, located in Albuquerque, NM, was formed in 2007 under the initiative to End Blindness by 2020. VisionQuest develops advanced medical imaging technologies in clinical environments for the purpose of making these advances readily available to clinics. VisionQuest has been developing ophthalmic imaging technologies, including a low-priced, portable retinal camera and software for automatic detection of retinal lesions in patients with diabetic retinopathy. VisionQuest i-Rx, Inc. is its sister company, established in 2012 to offer commercial screening products and services.

CONTACT: Vanna Livaditis 720-880-8434 Ioanna.Livaditis@tricore.org

Source:TriCore Reference Laboratories