NHS Scotland has completed the national roll–out of its diabetes digital retinopathy screening service, delivered using web-based e-health technology from Siemens Medical Solutions.

In 2006 there were an estimated 150,000 diabetic people in Scotland, a figure projected to double by 2010. Diabetic retinopathy the leading cause of blindness of patients of working age and represents a significant workload for the health service.

To help address the problem the NHS Scotland decided to offer all patients with diabetes aged 12 and over diabetic retinopathy screening. With appropriate ophthalmological intervention it has been estimated that blindness may be prevented in up to 70 per cent of such cases.

NHS Scotland worked with Siemens Medical Solutions to implement annual retinal screening to substantially reduce the suffering caused by diabetes.

Siemens software application, Soarian Integrated Care, was implemented to manage and support the diabetic retinopathy screening service across Scotland.

To deliver the new screening programme involved setting up a whole new administrative framework, a quality programme, staff training and defining processes that can be consistently applied to all geographical areas.

Soarian Integrated Care was implemented as a web-based application that can be operated via a web browser.

Deirdre Evans, director national services division, NHS National Services Scotland said: “NHS Scotland chose Siemens because it has demonstrated a commitment to delivering an IT solution that met the healthcare needs identified and had already implemented an effective working solution in Europe.”

Paul Burdett, NHS IT manager at Siemens Medical Solutions said: “We were delighted to be chosen as partners in this project and it is great to see it coming to fruition. We believe that this is the largest and most advanced example of e-health projects of its kind anywhere and is an excellent example of a preventative health care service delivered on a national basis.”