Rendr Care Increases Access to Diabetic Retinopathy Exams in Primary Care Setting
Rendr Care is the largest primary care focused, multi-specialty physician group dedicated to serving medically underserved Asian populations in New York City. The physician group was founded in 2019 and has more than 200 medical providers serving a patient population of approximately 200,000 at its 99 locations across Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.
VP of Operations, Rendr Care
“Achieving five-star compliance for diabetic retinopathy screenings was an increasing challenge for our practices primarily because the measure was out of their control,” said Jon Garrett, VP of Operations, Rendr Care. Patients living with diabetes were referred to an ophthalmologist to complete their annual screening exam. “Staff were spending a considerable amount of time paper chasing and making phone calls to patients to follow up and confirm that the screening was complete. Most practices were averaging two to three stars for this measure across our various payers,” said Garrett. Rendr leadership was committed to finding a more efficient way to provide access to care for their patients.
Initially, the leadership team at Rendr received an outside recommendation to consider the RetinaVue care delivery model to meet their needs. “The latest imager – the RetinaVue 700 Imager – had been given positive reviews for ease-of-use, which was a key factor in our decision-making process,” said Garrett.
The RetinaVue care delivery model supports Rendr’s quality goals because patients living with diabetes can have their annual diabetic retinopathy exam completed right in the primary care office during a routine visit. “We know that our patients do not like to go outside of their primary care office for services, so the RetinaVue care delivery model is a good solution to make sure our patient population is getting their annual diabetic retinal exam,” said Garrett. Diabetic retinopathy is considered the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults.1 Early detection is key as 95% of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy can be prevented with early detection.2
Rendr implemented the RetinaVue care delivery model in the fall of 2020. Despite other challenges facing staff as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, leadership wanted to continue their focus on quality goals related to diabetic retinopathy exams.
With eight devices, Rendr has a device at five fixed locations, and three that float to multiple practice locations on a rotating schedule. This allows all Rendr patients to have consistent access to diabetic retinopathy exams at their primary care office.
Rendr has a dedicated, centralized staff managing the diabetic retinopathy program across all practices in the organization. This group is responsible for managing incoming result reports, entering reports in the EMR, and coordinating follow-up and referrals directly with patients or their providers. Baxter’s Customer Success Specialist Team provided specialized training during implementation. “The Customer Support Specialist Team worked closely with Rendr staff to provide onsite support during patient imaging days, listen to their needs and find solutions to improve their daily workflow steps,” said Paige Harper, Senior Manager of Solutions Implementation & Customer Success at Baxter.
The Baxter Customer Success Specialist Team provides tools and support for customers to reach their view of success while implementing the RetinaVue care delivery model, with a focus that goes beyond training. The team is committed to working with each customer during the onboarding process and post go live. They provide insight on valuable workflow steps to make RetinaVue a seamless process in daily operations and support the customer’s goals to close care gaps and metrics. “Customer Success Specialist team members are compassionate about the 'why' in helping the customer prevent permanent vision loss in their diabetic patient groups. Team members have clinical backgrounds and bring this knowledge and experience to the customer. It is our privilege to partner with customers to help them deliver quality care,” said Harper.
Rendr uses a train-the-trainer approach for ongoing instruction. Their in-house program allows staff to be easily trained in languages other than English – an important factor since English is not the first language for many staff and patients.
In addition to an easy-to-use handheld retinal camera, the Rendr team was confident in the RetinaVue care delivery model because of the Joint Commission accredited over-read services and robust software capabilities that are part of the full solution. Over-read services were not something Rendr was able to provide on their own. They leverage the professional medical services provided by a nationwide team of state-licensed, board-certified ophthalmologists at RetinaVue, P.C. “Rendr receives exam results quickly, so our providers can help patients with necessary follow-up without delay,” said Garrett.
The way the reports are delivered was also a game changer from a workflow standpoint. “The appropriate CPT and ICD-10 codes are provided within the results report, streamlining documentation for our staff. The full report also makes referrals to eye care specialists more efficient for our patients who need further evaluation and treatment,” commented Garrett.
“The RetinaVue care delivery model is a good program and we’ve done well with it,” said Garrett. “If quality and value-based programs are something your organization is interested in, or if you are struggling on diabetic retinopathy measures and have the resources to implement this program in-house, it’s worth it – for your providers and their patients.”
Rendr continues to see an increase in exams for patients living with diabetes. They are on track to have more scans in 2022 than in 2021 because the workflow is more embedded in the organization. One of the largest practice locations was a late adopter of the program and is now one of the highest volume users.
By detecting abnormal pathology in about 20% of exams, Rendr staff and providers know that they are making a difference to ensure patients living with diabetes can preserve their vision.
Rendr has achieved five-star compliance for diabetic retinopathy with every value-based payer they are focused on for diabetic retinopathy. “We turned one of the toughest measures to achieve into one of the easiest measures to meet,” said Garrett. The leadership team at Rendr has also leveraged the best practices from their implementation of the RetinaVue care delivery model for another point-of-care program. “By refining our approach to rolling out our diabetic retinopathy program and having a playbook to follow we have been successful more quickly with other patient-focused initiatives,” commented Garrett.