Improving attendance for diabetes eye-screening - what do people with diabetes and healthcare professionals find acceptable and feasible?

Researchers: Lauren O Mahony, Dr Sheena McHugh, Dr Fiona Riordan, University College Cork (UCC)

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The problem

People with diabetes should have regular eye screening to check if their eyes are being damaged by the disease. An HRB-funded project called IDEAS (Improving Diabetes Eye-Screening Attendance) is developing new approaches to encourage people to attend eye screening. 

The project

Lauren O Mahony, a former BSc student of Public Health Sciences in UCC, received a HRB Summer Studentship Award to analyse data gathered in the IDEAS project. She compared the perspectives of 13 people with diabetes and 17 healthcare professionals about suggestions to encourage eye screening among people with diabetes such as reminder prompts or information campaigns. She wanted to discover and compare what intervention content each group felt was workable and acceptable and why.

The outcomes
  • Healthcare professionals and people with diabetes had similar concerns. For example, they wanted to ensure that interventions would inform people about the need for regular eye screening in diabetes, but not in a way that scared them
  • Sometimes perspectives on intervention content differed between healthcare professionals and people with diabetes. For example, healthcare professionals were concerned about the extra resources needed to change people’s behaviour around eye screenings, while people with diabetes stressed the need to protect patient privacy with any intervention
  • The results were presented at the 2020 New Horizons Research Conference in UCC
  • Lauren O’Mahony is continuing the analysis in a post as a Research Assistant at UCC. 

Lauren O Mahony, Research Assistant, UCC School of Public Health, says:

“When you are developing an intervention to encourage a health behaviour — in this case going for regular eye screening if a person has diabetes — it is important to involve different kinds of intervention end-users and see what their preferences are and whether they overlap. Since completing the HRB Summer Student project, I have continued to develop research on how to involve different groups of stakeholders when designing interventions to guide behaviour change in health.”

'Improving attendance for diabetes eye-screening - what do people with diabetes and healthcare professionals find acceptable and feasible?' is part of a wider collection of success stories across four themes from this year's annual Health Research in Action. Download the full publication