6.8 million ophthalmology appointments occur annually, of which 52% are unnecessary, costing the NHS up to £495 million per year in wasted outpatient referrals. Furthermore, suggesting compromised patient safety, a UK study involving 55 patients, in which an ophthalmologist had diagnosed treatable eye disease, only 9 individuals had been correctly diagnosed by their referring general practitioner. Thus, misdiagnosis of eye disease in primary care results in either a) inappropriate referral to secondary care or b) delayed/failure of referral. In the UK, both outcomes are rising, to the detriment of patient outcomes and cost-effective healthcare resourcing. The Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) estimates the total cost of sight loss in the UK is approximately £4.9 billion a year, of which 80% of cases are avoidable through early diagnosis.
VUI Diagnostics helps doctors detect eye diseases earlier by providing a plug and play retinal screening device and companion software for simple, affordable and accurate retinal screening in the community.
The innovation can be translated to the bedside within the next 6 months and represent significantly better value for the NHS than the under-utilised manual ophthalmoscopes available in primary care. Performing preliminary health economic analysis for the commonest retinal pathology in the UK – diabetic retinopathy (DR) – the device has a potential incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of -1357. This is feasible due to the capability of reproducible 10 times wider field-of-view retinal imaging than the ophthalmoscope, known to independently increase the sensitivity of disease detection, at £500 per year per device.