SOURCE: Welch Allyn, Inc.

Welch Allyn

January 20, 2015 13:00 ET

Welch Allyn Acquires Hubble Telemedical to Combat Diabetic Retinopathy in Primary Care Settings

Diabetic Retinopathy Is One of the Most Prevalent but Preventable Blinding Diseases in the World, Over 100 Million Affected

SKANEATELES FALLS, NY--(Marketwired - January 20, 2015) - Welch Allyn, Inc., a leading medical diagnostic device company that delivers practical innovation at the point of care, today announced the acquisition of Knoxville, TN-based Hubble Telemedical, Inc., a privately-held healthcare company that enables remote diabetic retinopathy screening and analysis in primary care and other convenient settings. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults1. With early detection, the sight-threatening disease can be treated and the risk of severe vision loss decreased by more than 90 percent2. Unfortunately, half of all diabetic patients do not get the recommended annual retinal exam3 due to either lack of access to specialist care or lack of compliance with their doctor's referral.

Using Hubble's award-winning proprietary network, retinal images are acquired and quality-checked at the point of care and then sent to specialists for over-read. The specialist generates a complete diagnostic report and sends it back to the ordering physician or clinic. The Hubble network enables retinal screening for diabetic retinopathy as part of a routine primary or convenient care visit. By improving the access and convenience of screening, compliance rates have been increased as much as 100 percent in less than 12 months(4). Increased compliance permits detection of disease in its earliest stage -- increasing the number of patients that receive timely treatment to prevent severe vision loss.

According to Welch Allyn President and CEO, Stephen Meyer, the acquisition of Hubble Telemedical further strengthens Welch Allyn's leadership position in delivering sight-saving solutions into primary care settings where they can have the largest impact on improving population health while also lowering the cost of care. Hubble Telemedical complements the company's other recently announced vision screening technologies, including Welch Allyn® RETeval-DR, a handheld diabetic retinopathy assessment device (not yet available in the U.S.) and Welch Allyn® Spot™ Vision Screener, a handheld, binocular vision screener targeting amblyopic risk factors in young children.

"Welch Allyn's focus on enabling cost-effective screening in primary care can materially increase the proportion of diabetic patients that receive an effective retinal screen, and ultimately help save the vision of some portion of the 382 million people living with diabetes globally," said Meyer. "A century ago Welch Allyn was founded upon the ophthalmoscope that enabled physicians to visualize the retina to help diagnose disease, and today we are very excited to kickoff our 2015 centennial with an acquisition that represents a connection to that heritage."

In addition to the obvious benefit of preserving vision, increasing the number of diabetics that receive an annual diabetic retinopathy screening can help both provider practices and payer systems to comply with quality-of-care metrics established for diabetic patients under various state and federal healthcare programs and also insurance plan accreditation. Annual retinal examinations are included in the NCQA HEDIS health insurance plan accreditation program, as well as the Medicare Advantage "Stars" quality rating program. Providers participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP ACOs), Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Value Based Purchasing (VBP), and Meaningful Use Programs may also have incentive payments tied in part to the performance of annual diabetic retinopathy screenings.

"It is an exciting day for us," said Chuck Witkowski, president and CEO of Hubble Telemedical. "For 100 years, Welch Allyn has been helping healthcare practitioners overcome complex challenges with simple and effective solutions. As the leading provider of remote retinal imaging analysis, we believe that joining Welch Allyn will accelerate adoption of our telehealth-based vision screening solution, thereby helping to eradicate preventable vision loss associated with retinopathy."

Hubble Telemedical's current product will continue to be developed, sourced and sold by its existing workforce. It will be business as usual for all Hubble Telemedical partners and customers. For more information about diabetic retinopathy screening solutions visit www.hubbletelemedical.com.

"For the last 100 years we have focused on finding innovative ways to improve lives and make things better for our customers and their patients," said Scott Gucciardi, Welch Allyn senior vice president of New Healthcare Delivery Solutions and the leader of the new business team. "This acquisition gives us a practical solution that will help healthcare delivery stakeholders adapt to the growing challenges they are facing due to the increasing prevalence of diabetes, changing payer incentives and quality metrics, and the need to move toward population health management."

About Welch Allyn, Inc.
Since 1915 Welch Allyn has brought a unique perspective to developing diagnostic solutions by combining pragmatic knowledge with a visionary spirit of innovation and ongoing improvement. As a leading global manufacturer of physical examination instruments and accessories and EMR-connected vital signs and cardiac monitoring solutions, the company has a steadfast commitment to delivering superlative medical products, services and solutions that help healthcare professionals provide better care for their patients. Welch Allyn is headquartered in Skaneateles Falls, N.Y. (USA) and employs more than 2,600 people in 26 different countries. Visit www.welchallyn.com for more information. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Note: The RETeval™ trademark is owned by LKC Technologies, Inc.

1 Ruta LM, Magliano DJ, Lemesurier R, Taylor HR, Zimmet PZ, Shaw JE. Prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in Type 2 diabetes in developing and developed countries. Diabet Med 2013; 30: 387-398.

2 American Academy of Ophthalmology Retina/Vitreous Panel. Preferred Practice Pattern Guidelines. Diabetic Retinopathy. San Francisco, CA: American Academy of Ophthalmology; 2008:7.

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. Health Indicators Warehouse.

4 Garg S, Jani PD, Kshirsagar AV, King B, Chaum E. Telemedicine and Retinal Imaging for Improving Diabetic Retinopathy Evaluation. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Oct 1:1-2.

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