Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Feasibility of an implementation intervention to increase attendance at diabetic retinopathy screening: protocol for a cluster randomised pilot trial

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-08-31, 10:39 authored by Fiona Riordan, Emmy Racine, Susan SmithSusan Smith, Aileen Murphy, John Browne, Patricia M Kearney, Colin Bradley, Mark James, Mark Murphy, Sheena M McHugh

Background: Diabetic retinopathy screening (DRS) leads to the earlier detection of retinopathy and treatment that can prevent or delay the development of diabetes-related blindness. However, uptake continues to be sub-optimal in many countries, including Ireland. Routine management of type 2 diabetes largely takes place in primary care. As such, there may be an opportunity in primary care to introduce interventions to improve DRS uptake. However, few studies test the feasibility of interventions to enhance DRS uptake in this context. Our aim is to investigate the feasibility of an implementation intervention (IDEAs (Improving Diabetes Eye screening Attendance)) delivered in general practice to improve the uptake of the national DRS programme, RetinaScreen.

Methods: The IDEAs study is a cluster randomised pilot trial with an embedded process evaluation and economic evaluation. Following stratification by practice size, eight general practices (clusters) will be randomly allocated to intervention (n = 4) or wait-list control groups (n = 4). The intervention will be delivered for 6 months, after which, it will be administered to wait-list control practices. The intervention is multi-faceted and comprises provider-level components (training, audit and feedback, health care professional prompt, reimbursement) and patient-level components (GP-endorsed reminder with information leaflet delivered opportunistically face-to-face, and systematically by phone and letter). Patient inclusion criteria are type 1 or type 2 diabetes and DRS programme non-attendance. A multi-method approach will be used to determine screening uptake, evaluate the trial and study procedures and examine the acceptability and feasibility of the intervention from staff and patient perspectives. Quantitative and qualitative data will be collected on intervention uptake and delivery, research processes and outcomes. Data will be collected at the practice, health professional and patient level. A partial economic evaluation will be conducted to estimate the cost of delivering the implementation intervention in general practice. Formal continuation criteria will be used to determine whether IDEAs should progress to a definitive trial.

Discussion: Findings will determine whether IDEAsis feasible and acceptable and will be used to refine the intervention and study procedures. A definitive trial will determine whether IDEAs is a cost-effective intervention to improve DRS uptake and reduce diabetes-related blindness.

Trial registration: NCT03901898. Registered 3rd April 2019.


Health Research Board Definitive Interventions and Feasibility Awards (DIFA-2017-006)



The original article is available at

Published Citation

Riordan F. et al. Feasibility of an implementation intervention to increase attendance at diabetic retinopathy screening: protocol for a cluster randomised pilot trial. Pilot Feasibility Stud. 2020;6:64.

Publication Date

12 May 2020

PubMed ID



  • General Practice


BioMed Central


  • Published Version (Version of Record)