Two companies team up to make home screenings easier to prevent blindness

Spect, a San Francisco-based data science and eye care company, announced Monday that it is partnering with New York-based MedArrive to offer at-home retinal screening for patients at high risk for diseases that may lead to blindness. Terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

MedArrive works with health plans and providers to deliver clinical services in the patient’s home. MedArrive providers will use Spect’s artificial intelligence-based telemedicine platform to screen patients for eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

“Early detection of eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy (DR), is key to preventing the risk of blindness,” said Michael Ricci, co-founder and CEO of Spectrum, in an email.

The problem, he noted, is that nearly 50% of people with diabetes go unscreened. diabetic retinopathy due to the drawbacks and lack of portability with current approaches.

“If not detected and treated early, it causes severe visual impairment and can degenerate into blindness, with a significant impact on patients’ quality of life, independence and mobility,” Ricci said.

Spect is focused on preventing laser blindness by making eye disease screening more accessible, especially for people who might not otherwise be able to. Practices that work with the company get a small, portable imaging device that can be used anywhere to screen for eye disease and analyze the results in minutes.

“The AI ​​makes this easier for the user by guiding them to the area, and the AI ​​will decide when to capture the image, and make sure the image is sharp and in the desired areas,” Michael Leung, co- founder of Spect, explained in an email. “It takes all the guesswork away from the user, resulting in faster, more accurate exams with low failure rates. Spect is able to diagnose over 95% of patients.

The majority of patients MedArrive works with are older people, who are at higher risk for eye diseases that can lead to blindness.

“Diabetes affects nearly a third of the American population, and many are affected by its related health complications. Diabetic retinopathy is currently the leading cause of vision loss in American adults, impacting the lives of millions, but preventable with regular eye checkups,” said Dan Trigub, co-founder and CEO of MedArrive, in a statement. E-mail. But the majority of patients skip their annual eye exams because they can’t get appointments, don’t have home care options and due to a shortage of retina specialists, a said Trigub. He added that Spect’s technology makes treatment more affordable and accessible.

The hospital-to-home movement and related expansion of health services now available to people outside of clinic walls has only accelerated during the pandemic. This extended to the issue of routine screenings and preventative medicine that take place in a traditional practice or in a hospital setting.

Home vision tests are available to consumers through companies like Eye-Que, but its technology cannot detect retinopathy or glaucoma and other serious eye conditions. Since January 2020, iCare has been marketing its iCare Home product to help glaucoma patients test their eye pressure at home. But it’s more about glaucoma management than screening prevention that Spect and MedArrive aim to facilitate at home.

In addition to bringing this capability to consumers, MedArrive and Spect expect to be able to reach underserved populations.

“Our partnership with MedArrive is very exciting because of MedArrive’s broad reach in the Medicare Advantage and home community,” said Ricci. “These patients would have great difficulty accessing traditional eye care specialists due to lack of availability. Spect is able to leverage MedArrive’s existing network of EMS and healthcare providers, and empower them to perform eye screenings with a portable platform.

Photo: KAREN BLEIER/AFP via Getty Images

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