Cahaba Medical Care has partnered with Digital Diagnostics to provide patients living with diabetes access to the first fully autonomous system De Novo cleared by the FDA that diagnoses diabetic retinopathy in its early stages, preventing vision loss and the need for more costly treatments in the future.

Diabetic retinopathy is a vision-threatening complication of diabetes with links to at least 40,000+ new cases of blindness amongst Americans each year, with more projected to experience significant vision loss. It’s estimated that at least 4.1 million US adults over 40 have some form of diabetic retinopathy. Treatment is highly effective when the condition is detected in its earlier stages.

Unfortunately, even with significant improvement of patient outcomes when diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed early, some health systems report that only 15-50% of patients with diabetes receive a recommended regular diabetic eye exam.

Alabama has one of the nation’s highest diabetes rate. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) both recommend regular eye exams for those with diabetes and prompt referral to a specialist if signs of diabetic retinopathy are detected.

Dr. John Waits, Chief Executive Officer at Cahaba Medical Care, explains the need for this critical new service and the impact his clinics have experienced in a year and a half since implementing an autonomous-AI system, IDx-DR®.

“We see patients not completing their annual diabetic eye exams due to overall lack of understanding of the importance, busyness of life, transportation issues, lack of insurance or just general non-participation in all forms of outside testing.”

Since implementing the Digital Diagnostics system, Cahaba identified over one out of every four patients tested to have a diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy that may have otherwise gone missed.

“We are confident these patients would not otherwise have received a diabetic eye exam until they were experiencing vision loss symptoms,” said Waits.

The technology, IDx-DR®, takes photos of the back of the eye and uses artificial intelligence to evaluate the extent of damage to blood vessels.

OSF Healthcare, an Illinois area healthcare provider also utilizing the IDx-DR® technology noted on their website that this form of testing “takes a few minutes and in most, but not all cases, doesn’t require eyes to be dilated.”

For those concerned with seemingly ever-rising healthcare costs nationwide, IDx-DR® could be a positive step towards cost reduction. Diabetic retinopathy accounts for nearly $500 million in total direct medical costs annually — arguably the result of late stage un-diagnosed disease.

Digital Diagnostics Founder and Executive Chairman, Dr. Michael D. Abramoff, combined his training as a retina specialist and computer scientist to develop this breakthrough technology.

“Diabetes-related vision loss is almost entirely preventable when detected and treated in its early stages. Our technology helps people access diagnosis and treatment before they are experiencing vision loss symptoms and it also helps them avoid very costly treatments and possible complete vision loss down the road,” says Abramoff.

Patients who test positive can seek treatment from an eye-care specialist before they experience vision loss and need very costly treatments.

About Cahaba Medical Care

Cahaba Medical Care is a Community Health Center (FQHC), accredited as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and Joint Commission. They have locations throughout central Alabama serving Bibb, Perry, Chilton, and Jefferson Counties. Their health centers provide comprehensive primary care services, including treatment and management of chronic and acute diseases; preventative care and cancer screenings; pediatric care; women’s health services; prenatal care and obstetrics; dermatological services; geriatrics; sports medicine services; mental healthcare; dental services and more.

Their clinics are currently staffed by more than 60 healthcare providers, 13 social workers/licensed counselors, two registered dietitians, and a dedicated team of nurses and medical assistants whose job it is to assist their patients in becoming healthier individuals.

About Digital Diagnostics Inc.

Digital Diagnostics Inc. is an AI diagnostics company on a mission to transform the quality, accessibility, equity, and affordability of global healthcare through the application of technology in the medical diagnosis and treatment process. The company, originally founded by Michael Abramoff, MD, PhD, a neuroscientist, practicing fellowship-trained retina specialist, and computer engineer, is led in partnership with co-founders John Bertrand and Seth Rainford.

Digital Diagnostics is paving the way for autonomous and assistive AI diagnosis to become a new standard of care, contributing to democratizing healthcare and closing care gaps. The company works closely with patient advocacy groups, federal regulators, and other quality of care and ethics-focused stakeholders to enable the adoption of autonomous AI.

For more information about IDx-DR® and Digital Diagnostics, you can find that on their website here: