Audit of referral of diabetic patients

Saudi Med J. 2002 Feb;23(2):177-81.


Objective: To determine the referral, the feedback rates and to find out the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy among diabetics who were referred from a primary health care center, to Abha General Hospital in Aseer Region.

Methods: This study was conducted at Wasat Abha Primary Health Care Center in Aseer region at the end of 1996 and 1997. All the diabetic files were reviewed and evaluated for referral to the eye clinic, their feedback and the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy among diabetics for whom fundoscopy was carried out. The related data was entered and analyzed by using the statistical package for social sciences program.

Results: A total of 203 diabetic files were reviewed. Forty percent were referred during 1996 while 68.5% were referred during 1997. The rates of feedback were 72% in 1996 and 71.2% in 1997. Twenty percent were referred twice during these 2 years. The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy was 11.3%.

Conclusion: The referral rate and the feedback from the eye clinic was lower than the national target. A poor referral system was responsible for such a low rate. Either reorganization of the referral system or calling the ophthalmologists to attend Primary Health Care Centers monthly will increase the rate of eye examination among diabetics and will help in early detection of diabetic retinopathy and in prevention of blindness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Health Centers / standards*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, General / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Medical Audit*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Referral and Consultation / standards*
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology