Diffusion of technologies for the care of older adults with exudative age-related macular degeneration.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


To determine patterns of diffusion of diagnostic tests and therapeutic interventions in the United States through 2010 for patients with newly diagnosed exudative macular degeneration (AMD).


Retrospective longitudinal cohort analysis.


SETTING AND PATIENT POPULATION: A total of 23 941 Medicare beneficiaries with exudative AMD newly diagnosed during 1992-2009.

Observation procedures

Current Procedural Technology (CPT-4) billing codes were used to identify use of diagnostic tests (optical coherence tomography, fluorescein angiography, and fundus photography) and therapeutic interventions (argon laser photocoagulation, photodynamic therapy, intravitreal corticosteroids, and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF] agents) used by these beneficiaries during the first year following diagnosis.

Main outcome measures

Rates of use of study diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.


Diffusion was rapid for each successive new diagnostic and treatment modality, with use of newer procedures quickly replacing existing ones. The number of beneficiaries treated with anti-VEGF agents for exudative AMD was considerably greater than for prior innovations, rising from use in 4.0% of beneficiaries in 2004-05 to 62.7% in 2009-10. In each year from first diagnosis years 2006-2009 and in different practice settings, use of bevacizumab exceeded that of ranibizumab (60%-78% vs 33%-47%, respectively). Rates of diffusion of the various therapies were relatively similar in communities throughout the United States irrespective of presence of a major teaching hospital in the vicinity.


Newer, more effective therapeutic interventions for exudative AMD diffused rapidly throughout the United States, quickly replacing older, less effective interventions. Although improving patient outcomes, rapid diffusion raises important public policy issues for Medicare and other payers to consider.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Stein, JD; Hanrahan, BW; Comer, GM; Sloan, FA

Published Date

  • April 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 155 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 688 - 696.e2

PubMed ID

  • 23219066

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3632297

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-1891

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-9394

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ajo.2012.10.003


  • eng