ArticleLiterature Review

Evaluation of patient satisfaction with an ophthalmology video consultation during the COVID-19 pandemicEvaluierung der Patientenzufriedenheit mit einer augenärztlichen Videosprechstunde während der COVID-19-Pandemie

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Abstract

Background We introduced a video consultation (VC) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in an ophthalmology practice with eight doctors to ensure continuous ophthalmological care, infection prophylaxis and to compensate a decreased number of patient presentations.Objective Evaluation of the most common reasons for patient presentations in the VC, the proportion of re-presentations in the practice despite VC, practical challenges associated with the introduction of VC and patient satisfaction.Material and methodsPatients with a recent acute visual deterioration and severe eye pain were excluded from the VC. The VC were carried out by a trained specialist in ophthalmology. A questionnaire with eight questions was completed after the VC appointment in order to evaluate the proportion of completed VC and patient satisfaction.ResultsWe included 29 (13 male, Ø 52.6 years, 16 female, Ø 64.7 years) patients in this analysis. The VC could be performed with 68.97% of the participants who rated their overall experience with an average grade of 1.6 (1 very good to 6 insufficient) and all of them indicated that they would recommend the VC. Of presentations in VC 70% were related to the symptoms of the anterior eye segment. In 70% of the cases no re-presentations took place in the unit.Conclusion Our study represents a significant practical application of VC for the management of non-urgent ocular conditions with maximum infection prophylaxis. The introduction of VC was severely limited by technological or user-related issues by the establishment of video connections. Patient satisfaction with VC was high to very high.

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... Among the factors that need to be examined is the extent to which people in society use and benefit from the services, find them useful, and feel satisfied. A body of research examined the usage, usefulness, and satisfaction variables as perceived by people using technologies in the COVID-19 pandemic (29)(30)(31)(32)(33). However, few studies have examined the usefulness, satisfaction, and effectiveness of ehealth services provided by healthcare providers. ...
Article
Background: On a global scale, health institutions have used electronic health (e-health) services to challenge the COVID-19 virus. Objectives: This study aimed to assess people’s use and perceived usefulness of e-health services their satisfaction with these services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: The present cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted in November 2021 in Kerman. The data were collected using a researcher-made online questionnaire survey. The questionnaire was comprised of four sections and 33 questions. A logistic regression analysis was run to test the relationship between demographic variables and the rate of use, usefulness, and satisfaction variables. Pearson correlation coefficient was run to test the association between these variables. Results: The age range of 527 participants was 16 - 61. Television had the highest level of use, usefulness, and satisfaction. Pearson's correlation coefficient results showed a significant relationship between the variables of usage and satisfaction, usefulness and satisfaction, and usefulness and usage. These associations were stronger in the rate of use and perceived usefulness of and satisfaction with social networks than in other e-health services (r = 0.87, r = 0.95, P < 0.0001 respectively). Conclusions: The study finding showed that television is more than other platforms used and useful, and people were more satisfied with the information they acquired from them. The present findings can be useful for healthcare policymakers and developers of e-health technologies in a similar situation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
... Our findings suggest that more than 95% of the Levels of satisfaction were high among users (NPS = 86.9), consistent with reports in Germany, India, Chile, and the United Kingdom [10][11][12][13]. Studies on quality of care state that no significant differences are found when comparing telemedicine and regular ophthalmology practices [14]. ...
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Background: Teleophthalmology (TO) is a fundamental tool to continue eye care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. TO programs allow follow-up of patients with chronic eye conditions, postoperative follow-up, triage, and referral of emergency conditions. Given the high risk of infection associated with ophthalmic examinations, TO enables safe and satisfactory interactions between patients and health care providers. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study to evaluate a TO program implemented in Mexico City, between April 1st, 2020, and June 15th, 2020. TO consults were offered via telephone and video visits. The program included tele-triage and follow-up consultations. Patients meeting referral criteria for emergency face-to-face (EFTF) evaluation were scheduled for in-person evaluation. Demographic clinical and ophthalmological information, as well as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for assessing the general patient satisfaction, were obtained. Results: A total of 1,242 teleconsultations were conducted, including 1,159 first assessment consults and 78 follow-ups. The mean age of patients was 59 ± 18.6 years, most were females (57.5%) and had previous eye conditions (65.5%). The most frequent ocular condition presumed during teleconsultation was dry eye syndrome. The prevalence of ocular emergencies requiring EFTF assessment was 12.4%, with a 26.8% no-show rate and a positive predictive value of 51.9%. Patients reported high satisfaction with TO services (NPS = 86.9). Conclusion: TO stands as a viable alternative to limit COVID-19 transmission. Teleconsultation satisfaction rates are high, and most cases will not require immediate referral. Thus, TO programs may serve as a safe response to alleviate healthcare systems, while meeting patients needs during the pandemic. Keywords: COVID-19; Teleophthalmology (TO); Emergency Face-to-Face (EFTF); Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Article
AimThe aim of this audit was to assess the effect of new guidelines on virtual triage referrals to an Irish eye emergency department (EED) during the COVID-19 pandemic.MethodsA retrospective phone triage referral and clinical note audit was performed to assess outcomes of phone triaging in October. Guidelines for phone triage were formulated with particular regard to what conditions should be seen in EED, treated over the phone or sent straight to outpatients clinic or minor procedures. A prospective phone triage referral and case note audit was then done to assess outcomes after introduction of the guidelines in November.ResultsA total of 1700 patients were referred to the eye emergency department, 861 in October and 839 in November. A total of 577 patients were triaged for in-person EED review in November, compared to 692 prior to implementation of guidelines (p < 0.05). The number of patients referred straight to outpatients (p < 0.05) and treated over the phone (p < 0.05) was also significantly increased. Ultimately, the number of conditions unnecessarily triaged to EED, as per the guidelines implemented, was significantly reduced (p < 0.05).Conclusion This audit addressed the need to reduce footfall during the COVID-19 pandemic, identified suitable avenues of referrals for certain conditions, and demonstrated that these guidelines significantly reduced the number of patients presenting to EED with conditions amenable to phone review or clinic follow-up.
Article
Background A few studies have identified the frequency and correlates of online consultations with doctors or therapists. However, there is a lack of studies using nationally representative data from middle-aged and older adults in Germany. Objective This study aims to determine the frequency and correlates of online consultations with doctors or therapists in Germany. Methods For this study, cross-sectional data were taken from the nationally representative German Ageing Survey (DEAS; n=3067 in the analytical sample; age range 46-98 years). As part of the DEAS, a short survey was conducted between June 8 and July 22, 2020, examining the everyday life and living conditions among these middle-aged and older individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The frequency of online consultations with doctors or therapists served as the dependent variable (daily, several times a week, once a week, 1-3 times a month, less often, and never). Multiple logistic regressions were performed. Results In sum, 10.02% (381/3806) of individuals with access to the internet had online consultations with doctors or therapists. Multiple logistic regressions showed that the likelihood of using online consultations with doctors or therapists (compared with those never using such services) was positively associated with higher education (compared with medium education; odds ratio [OR] 1.31, 95% CI 1.01-1.70), living with a partner in the same household (compared with single; OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.05-2.22), poorer self-rated health (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.16-1.74), increased loneliness (OR 1.45, 95% CI 1.10-1.90), and increased satisfaction with life (OR 1.30, 95% CI 1.03-1.64). Conclusions Study findings suggest that a non-negligible proportion of about 1 out of 10 individuals aged 46 years and over had online consultations with doctors or therapists. However, compared with other countries, this proportion remains small. Knowledge about the correlates of (non)use may assist in identifying corresponding individuals. In times of reshaping the health care system, these efforts in online consultations with doctors or therapists may contribute to addressing patient needs. Moreover, increased use of such services may reduce the risk of getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 by reducing social contact.
Article
Introduction The use of telemedicine has broadened as technology that both restores continuity of care during disruptions in healthcare delivery and routinely provides primary care alone or in combination with in-person care. During the Covid-19 outbreak, the use of telemedicine as a routine care modality further accelerated. Methods A review of scientific studies that used telemedicine to provide care from December 2019 to December 2020 is presented. From an initial set of 2,191 articles, 36 studies are analyzed. Evidence is organized and evaluated according to the country of study, the clinical specialty, the technology platform used, and satisfaction and utilization outcomes. Results Thirty-one studies reported high patient satisfaction scores. Eight studies reported satisfaction from both providers and patients with no uniformly accepted assessment instrument. Eight studies conducted a descriptive analysis of telemedicine use and patient adoption patterns. Less than one-third of studies were controlled before/after studies. Most studies were conducted in the USA followed by Europe. Conclusions Reported satisfaction rates are high, consistent with previously documented research, whereas utilization rates increased significantly compared with the prepandemic period. Future work in developing standardized uniform assessment instruments, embedded with each telemedicine system, would increase versatility and agility in the assessment, boosting statistical power and the interpretation of results.
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COVID-19 extended through 2020 with impact on all hospital services. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of orthoptic service provision during the initial recovery period from July to September 2020 in the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands. We conducted a prospective survey-based cross-sectional study using an online survey aiming for coverage of orthoptic departments across the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands. The survey sought to gather data on orthoptic practice during the COVID-19 pandemic period between the first and second waves in the UK. Questions included within the survey asked about the impact on services paused or reduced during the pandemic, the reinstatement of services, backlog of appointments, changes to arrangement and conduct of appointments, changes to working practice, impact to lives of orthoptists, and access by orthoptists to professional support and guidelines. We circulated the online survey through the British and Irish Orthoptic Society that reaches over 95% of UK and Irish orthoptic services and through social media and orthoptic research networks. This survey was open from July 1st to September 30th 2020 and achieved a response rate from orthoptic departments of 85%. A high rate (92%) of teleconsultations continued with 50% of departments using a proforma to guide the teleconsultation and with added use of risk assessment for patient appointments. To enable reopening of clinics, multiple changes were made for patient and staff flow through clinic areas. Reduced clinical capacity was confirmed by 76.5% of departments. Appointments averaged 15–20 minutes and there was routine use of PPE and cleaning and adoption of staggered appointments with added evening/weekend clinics. There was increased use of information resources/leaflets for patients and dependence on professional and health care guidance documents. The average backlog for patient appointments had increased to 26 weeks. The initial UK and Irish recovery phase in summer 2020 allowed a glimpse at adjustments needed to reopen orthoptic clinics for in-person appointments. Teleconsultation remained in frequent use but with greater risk assessment and triage to identify those requiring in-person appointments.
Article
Background During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic access to and utilization of ophthalmologic healthcare providers was partially restricted.Objective This article provides an overview of already available tele-ophthalmologic applications for better care during the pandemic as well as those still under development.Material and methodsThe study included an analysis of current scientific publications, analysis of unrestricted screening applications in smart device app stores as well as telemetric medical products specifically designed for home monitoring and discussion of the requirements of an integrated ophthalmologic video consultation.ResultsThere is significant interest in tele-ophthalmologic applications and devices as evidenced by a rise in the number of relevant publications. Freely available screening tests for smart phones and tablets are as a rule currently not validated and show significant discrepancies from established standard tests. Telemetric medical devices show great potential for home monitoring in chronic ophthalmologic diseases but must first become established in the clinical routine.Conclusion There is an unmet need for systematic analysis, development and validation of telemedical applications and medical products for ophthalmology in order to advantageously utilize the potential of telemedicine and to incorporate this into an ophthalmologic video consultation.
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Corneal diseases, uncorrected refractive errors, and cataract represent the major causes of blindness globally. The number of refractive surgeries, either cornea- or lens-based, is also on the rise as the demand for perfect vision continues to increase. With the recent advancement and potential promises of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies demonstrated in the realm of ophthalmology, particularly retinal diseases and glaucoma, AI researchers and clinicians are now channeling their focus toward the less explored ophthalmic areas related to the anterior segment of the eye. Conditions that rely on anterior segment imaging modalities, including slit-lamp photography, anterior segment optical coherence tomography, corneal tomography, in vivo confocal microscopy and/or optical biometers, are the most commonly explored areas. These include infectious keratitis, keratoconus, corneal grafts, ocular surface pathologies, preoperative screening before refractive surgery, intraocular lens calculation, and automated refraction, among others. In this review, we aimed to provide a comprehensive update on the utilization of AI in anterior segment diseases, with particular emphasis on the recent advancement in the past few years. In addition, we demystify some of the basic principles and terminologies related to AI, particularly machine learning and deep learning, to help improve the understanding, research and clinical implementation of these AI technologies among the ophthalmologists and vision scientists. As we march toward the era of digital health, guidelines such as CONSORT-AI, SPIRIT-AI, and STARD-AI will play crucial roles in guiding and standardizing the conduct and reporting of AI-related trials, ultimately promoting their potential for clinical translation.
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Social Media in the COVID-19 pandemic context has become a real dissemination medium of ophthalmology information for both physicians and health care consumers. This trend of sharing information has revealed new and innovative interventions in Ophthalmology such as teleophthalmology on Social Media by providing synchronous and asynchronous consultations, education, and prevention solutions as well as scientific research findings. This paper is a review of the current challenges and limitations faced by ophthalmologists and health care consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Objective To evaluate the utility of teleconsultation in the provision of eye care services during the COVID-19 lockdown. Disparities in the consultation burden of sub-specialities and socio-demographic differences in teleconsultation utilization were also assessed. Methods Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital Rawalpindi began audio and video teleconsultation using broadband telecommunication services during the lockdown. Patients’ and consultations’ data gathered during the first three weeks after the commencement of this programme were compared with data from the four weeks prior to lockdown. The weekly consultation ratio and overall consultation burden of sub-specialities were measured. Chi-Square tests of association determined the relationship between different variables (socioeconomic status and consultation characteristics) and consultation modality (on-site vs online). Results In total, 17507 on-site consultations (4377/week) were conducted compared to 1431 teleconsultations (477/week), which maintained 10.89% of the weekly pre-lockdown eye care services. The post-lockdown teleconsultation programme saw a relatively higher percentage of service utility among female (47.09% vs 44.71%), younger-age (31.33±19.45 vs 41.25±23.32 years) and higher-socioeconomic-status (32.21% vs 0.30%) patients compared to pre-lockdown on-site consultations. The most common indication for teleconsultation was red-eye (16.70%). While cornea and glaucoma clinics maintained most of the pre-lockdown services (30.42% and 29% respectively), the highest dropout was seen in optometric and vitreoretinal services supporting only 5.54% and 8.28% of pre-lockdown services, respectively. Conclusion Digital initiatives could partially maintain eye care services during the lockdown. Focused strategies to improve teleconsultation utilization are required during the pandemic and beyond.
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Background/aims To assess the accuracy of real-time telemedicine to diagnose and manage paediatric eye conditions. Methods Design: Prospective, non-inferiority study analysing agreement in diagnoses and management plans between telemedicine and in-person examinations. Setting: Paediatric ophthalmology clinic. Population: Children 0–17 years, English-speaking or Spanish-speaking, able to participate in age-appropriate manner, either previously seen by the optometrist and required ophthalmology referral or newly referred from outside source. Procedures: Paediatric optometrist conducted examinations using digital equipment and streamed live to a paediatric ophthalmologist who recorded diagnoses and management plans, then re-examined patients in-person. Subjects were masked to the fact they would see the ophthalmologist in-person, same-day. Main outcome measures: Discrepancy in management plan or diagnosis between telemedicine and in-person examinations. Non-inferiority threshold was <1.5% for management plan or <15% for diagnosis discrepancies. Results 210 patients participated in 348 examinations. 131 (62.4%) had strabismus as primary diagnosis. In these patients, excellent and almost perfect agreement was observed for angle measurements (intraclass correlation coefficients=0.98–1.00) and disease categorisation (kappa=0.94–1.00) (p<0.0001 in all cases). No primary diagnoses changed, and no management plans changed following in-person examination. 54/55 patients who consented for surgery at the initial visit did so while masked to receiving an in-person examination. Families felt comfortable with the quality of the telemedicine examination (98.5%) and would participate in another in the future (97.1%). Conclusion Paediatric ophthalmic conditions can be reliably diagnosed and managed via telemedicine. Access for underserved populations may be improved by collaboration between ophthalmologists and optometrists using this technology.
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Introduction: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults in most developed countries. Early diagnosis and early treatment for retinopathy can reduce the incidence of severe loss of vision in a high percentage of sight-threatening DR. However, sight-threatening DR is asymptomatic in a high percentage of patients and no more than 50% of the diabetic patients are reviewed periodically in ophthalmology, mainly in rural areas. Telemedicine facilitates the exchange of information among professionals, reducing unnecessary journeys for patients who live in rural or remote areas. The survey of satisfaction is a highly useful quantitative instrument to obtain information directly from the users of a screening program. One aim of this study has been to determine the prevalence of DR in a sample of diabetic patients from a rural area of Spain and to classify DR patients according to the type and severity of this complication of the disease. The other main target was to evaluate the degree of satisfaction in both diabetic patients and professionals with a teleophthalmology-based screening program of DR. Methods: A sample of 114 diabetic patients included in a new teleophthalmology program for the screening of DR in Castilla y León, Spain, were asked to take part in an in-person survey designed to evaluate the degree of satisfaction. This sample was obtained through a consecutive non-probability sampling technique, out of a total of 752 diabetic patients who underwent a retinography screening program in a distant rural healthcare center. The survey assessed aspects related to the information about the program the patients received, the organization of the center, the way the test was conducted and the reception of the results. All the included participants consented to participate in this study. Additionally, an anonymous survey was conducted via email. The sample was made up of 10 professionals responsible for taking the retinal images from the patients included in the study. This survey assessed their degree of satisfaction with their training, the way the test was carried out, the support from their managers and how this activity influenced their relationship with their patients. Results: A high percentage of patients with DR in the study sample had a form of sight-threatening retinopathy (29.4%), which in this program is a criterion of referral to be assessed by an ophthalmologist. Of the surveyed patients, 93.8% scored eight points or higher for their degree of general satisfaction with the activity. All of them claimed they would prefer to continue their exploration at the healthcare center instead of going to the hospital. As regards the professionals, 70% scored eight points or more in terms of their degree of general satisfaction with the activity, whereas 20% scored between five and seven. One professional did not respond to the question. Finally, 90% stated that they would continue performing the activity, while the remaining 10% answered no. Conclusion: According to the high percentage of patients diagnosed with vision-threatening DR in this study, an early diagnosis of this complication of diabetes seems to be important. Teleophthalmology enhances patient accessibility to the healthcare system, making early diagnosis of DR easier, with a high degree of satisfaction among patients and healthcare professionals.
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Background: Digital tools provide a unique opportunity to increase access to eye care. We developed a Web-based test that measures visual acuity and both spherical and cylindrical refractive errors. This test is Conformité Européenne marked and available on the Easee website. The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of this Web-based tool with traditional subjective manifest refraction in a prospective open-label noninferiority clinical trial.
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Background: Digital tools provide a unique opportunity to increase access to eye care. We developed a Web-based test that measures visual acuity and both spherical and cylindrical refractive errors. This test is Conformité Européenne marked and available on the Easee website. The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of this Web-based tool with traditional subjective manifest refraction in a prospective open-label noninferiority clinical trial. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcome of a Web-based refraction compared with a manifest refraction (golden standard). Methods: Healthy volunteers from 18 to 40 years of age, with a refraction error between -6 and +4 diopter (D), were eligible. Each participant performed the Web-based test, and the reference test was performed by an optometrist. An absolute difference in refractive error of <0.5 D was considered noninferior. Reliability was assessed by using an intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Both uncorrected and corrected visual acuity were measured. Results: A total of 200 eyes in 100 healthy volunteers were examined. The Web-based assessment of refractive error had excellent correlation with the reference test (ICC=0.92) and was considered noninferior to the reference test. Uncorrected visual acuity was similar with the Web-based test and the reference test (P=.21). Visual acuity was significantly improved using the prescription obtained by using the Web-based tool (P<.01). The Web-based test provided the best results in participants with mild myopia (ie, <3 D), with a mean difference of 0.02 (SD 0.49) D (P=.48) and yielding a corrected visual acuity of >1.0 in 90% (n=77) of participants. Conclusions: Our results indicate that Web-based eye testing is a valid and safe method for measuring visual acuity and refractive error in healthy eyes, particularly for mild myopia. This tool can be used for screening purposes, and it is an easily accessible alternative to the subjective manifest refraction test. Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03313921; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03313921.
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Background Hospital Eye Services (HES) in the UK face an increasing number of optometric referrals driven by progress in retinal imaging. The National Health Service (NHS) published a 10-year strategy (NHS Long-Term Plan) to transform services to meet this challenge. In this study, we implemented a cloud-based referral platform to improve communication between optometrists and ophthalmologists. Methods Retrospective cohort study conducted at Moorfields Eye Hospital, Croydon (NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK). Patients classified into the HES referral pathway by contributing optometrists have been included into this study. Main outcome measures was the reduction of unnecessary referrals. Results After reviewing the patient’s data in a web-based interface 54 (52%) out of 103 attending patients initially classified into the referral pathway did not need a specialist referral. Fourteen (14%) patients needing urgent treatment were identified. Usability was measured in duration for data input and reviewing which was an average of 9.2 min (median: 5.4; IQR: 3.4–8.7) for optometrists and 3.0 min (median: 3.0; IQR: 1.7–3.9) min for ophthalmologists. A variety of diagnosis was covered by this tool with dry age-related macular degeneration (n=34) being most common. Conclusion After implementation more than half of the HES referrals have been avoided. This platform offers a digital-first solution that enables rapid-access eye care for patients in community optometrists, facilitates communication between healthcare providers and may serve as a foundation for implementation of artificial intelligence.
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Purpose The purpose of this study was to characterize a pilot program using e-health to monitor glaucoma suspects in a large integrated health system. Methods A retrospective chart review of patients enrolled in the first 2 years of a new glaucoma suspect telemedicine monitoring program was conducted. Patients were enrolled in the program after being diagnosed as glaucoma suspects in the regular clinic setting and were eligible for the program if they had better than 20/40 vision, intraocular pressure (IOP) <25 mmHg, a normal baseline visual field, and an optical coherence tomography (OCT) retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) without clear evidence of glaucomatous optic nerve damage. Patients were followed annually thereafter with measurements of vision, IOP, and OCT RNFL, which were reviewed at a centralized telemedicine reading center. Patients were retained within the program unless there was evidence of disease progression, in which case they were referred to an ophthalmologist for further evaluation. The first 100 patients received a survey assessing their satisfaction with the program after their first visit. The number of patients who adhered to follow-up recommendations, who were referred to an ophthalmologist for additional evaluation, and who began on IOP-lowering medications was evaluated. Results A total of 225 patients were enrolled in this program. Of eligible patients, 97.3% attended their 1-year follow-up visit and 92.5% attended their 2-year follow-up visit. Over the course of 2 years, five patients were referred for further clinic evaluation due to concern for progressive RNFL loss, of which two were started on IOP-lowering medications. No patients were referred to the clinic for vision loss or elevated IOP. In all, 87% of patients said that they would be extremely or quite likely to recommend the program to a friend. More than 80% of patients said that the program was extremely or very helpful, convenient, and professional. Conclusion This novel telemedicine program for monitoring low-risk glaucoma suspects achieved high patient retention. Significant disease progression was rare with a few patients requiring referrals back to the clinic setting or initiation of IOP-lowering therapy. Telemedicine is a promising method to follow patients who are glaucoma suspects.
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Tele-ophthalmology using portable retinal imaging technology, mobile phone and Internet connectivity offers a solution to improve access to diabetic retinopathy (DR) screening services in sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries where the burden of diabetes is increasing and there is limited access to eye care services and specialists. The Zimbabwe Retinopathy Telemedicine Project (ZRTP) established routine DR screening at a hospital-based diabetic clinic in the urban capital city, Harare. A handheld 'point and shoot' digital camera operated by a trained nurse was used to acquire retina images of 203 diabetic patients. A secured 'store-and forward' approach was set up and used for sharing and transfer of images to a retinal specialist at a remote site for reading. This method enabled detection of non-macular DR (11%), diabetic macular oedema (5%), cataract (5%) and glaucoma (6%) among the patients screened. ZRTP demonstrated the utility of tele-ophthalmology for routine retinal screening for diabetic patients in Zimbabwe who have limited access to eye care services. In addition, ZRTP showed how tele-ophthalmology services can provide an empirical framework for providing patient education, and a platform for research in the detection of DR. This approach could be used as a model to address the DR challenges in other countries in SSA.
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Aim The aim of this study was to describe the views of health-care personnel about video consultation (VC) prior to implementation in primary health care in rural areas. Background For people living in rural areas, it is often a long distance to specialist care, and VC could be an opportunity for increased access to care. Therefore, this study was to investigate what views primary health-care personnel had on VC as a working method in the distance between primary and specialist care. The development of technology in society and the introduction of technology in health care mean that the working methods must be adapted to a new approach. It is therefore important that in the initial phase of the introduction of new working methods to capture the personnel views regarding this. Methods Focus group (FG) discussions with health-care personnel from five primary health-care centres in northern Sweden. The transcribed FG discussions were analysed with qualitative content analysis. Findings The analysis revealed four main categories: a patient-centred VC; the importance of evaluating costs and resources; new technology in daily work; technology gives new possibilities in future health care.
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The potential usefulness of smartphones in the medical field is evolving everyday. This article describes various tools available on smartphones, largely focusing on the iPhone, for the examination of an ophthalmic patient, for patient and physician education, as well as reference tools for both ophthalmologists and vision researchers. Furthermore, the present article discusses how smartphones can be used for ophthalmic photography and image management, and foremost, the usefulness of the applications such as the Eye Handbook for the ophthalmologist and interested students, patients, physicians, and researchers, currently available in the iPhone.
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We evaluated the quality of medical services delivered to remote glaucoma patients from a mobile unit. A four-wheel-drive vehicle containing the necessary equipment visited five different remote locations in Greece. During a three-year prospective study, 1205 patients were examined, of whom 230 had glaucoma. The majority of the subjects were examined by the unit's medical staff using the available instrumentation (e.g. slit-lamp and tonometer), while 56 glaucoma subjects were telemedically examined by consultants at the Patissia General Hospital, in Athens. Control data were obtained from a random sample of 260 urban glaucoma patients. A significantly greater proportion of the remote patients had an inadequate awareness of glaucoma (77%) compared with the urban patients (20%). Significantly more remote patients had poorer compliance (68%) in comparison with urban patients (23%). A significantly larger proportion of the remote patients had high intra-ocular pressure (21%) compared with the urban patients (5%). Technical difficulties occurred in the 13 of the 56 telemedical examinations. Mobile medical units can enhance access to medical services and contribute to the health-care of under-served populations.
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Tele-ophthalmology has been employed mainly for patients in under-served rural areas in need of specialty care, but other applications such as telementoring have also been used. In certain populations, cost containment is a significant issue and telemedicine is a solution. Tele-ophthalmology can be performed in realtime, by store-and-forward mode, or by hybrid techniques. After appropriate modification, a range of peripherals may be used for tele-ophthalmology, including the direct ophthalmoscope, indirect ophthalmoscope, slit lamp or retinal camera. Tele-ophthalmology applications include: detecting, screening and diagnosing diabetic retinopathy; anterior segment imaging; glaucoma screening; low vision consultation; telementoring. Tele-ophthalmology shows great promise for improving patient care and increasing access to specialty care not available in under-served areas. In developing countries tele-ophthalmology may be a cost-effective method by which richer countries can assist them.
Article
Background: Teleophthalmology, particularly real-time video consultation, holds great potential in Australia and similar countries worldwide, where geography, population and medical workforce distribution make it difficult to provide specialist eye services outside of major cities. Assessment and referrals from rural optometrists are vital to the success of teleophthalmology. While there is good evidence for the efficacy of such services, there is limited evidence for patient satisfaction with video consultation. Methods: To evaluate patient satisfaction with teleophthalmology, the current study recruited patients who underwent a video consultation with Lions Outback Vision, for a follow-up telephone-based questionnaire assessing satisfaction. Regression analysis was performed assessing which demographic features and which features of the video consultation itself were associated with highest overall satisfaction. Results: One hundred and nine of the 137 eligible patients completed the questionnaire (79.6 per cent; 55 per cent male; mean age 64.61 years). The majority of the participants were either 'Very satisfied' (69.1 per cent) or 'Satisfied' (24.5 per cent) with the service. No one reported being either 'Dissatisfied' or 'Very dissatisfied'. Linear regression did not reveal any demographic or follow-up variables as predictive of greater total satisfaction; however, participants who were older, felt they could easily explain their medical problems to the doctor in the video consultation and believed that telemedicine enabled them to save money and time, and were more likely to report higher overall satisfaction. Conclusion: Teleophthalmology is a promising new way to overcome barriers to the delivery of eye care services to rural and remote populations. This study demonstrates a high level of overall satisfaction with teleophthalmological video consultation and patients are accepting of this emerging consultation modality, regardless of age.
Article
Purpose: To determine the frequency of emergency department (ED) visits for nonurgent and urgent ocular conditions and risk factors associated with ED use for nonurgent and urgent ocular problems. Design: Retrospective, longitudinal cohort analysis. Participants: All enrollees aged 21 years or older in a United States managed care network during 2001-2014. Methods: We identified all enrollees visiting an ED for ocular conditions identified by International Classification of Diseases, billing codes. Diagnosis is well-described as urgent, nonurgent, or other. We assessed the frequency of ED visits for urgent and nonurgent ocular conditions and how they changed over time. Next, we performed multivariable Cox regression modeling to determine factors associated with visiting an ED for urgent or nonurgent ocular conditions. Main outcome measures: Hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of visiting an ED for urgent or nonurgent ocular conditions. Results: Of the 11 160 833 enrollees eligible for this study, 376 680 (3.4%) had 1 or more ED visit for an eye-related problem over a mean ± standard deviation of 5.4±3.3 years' follow-up. Among these enrolled, 86 473 (23.0%) had 1 or more ED visits with a nonurgent ocular condition and 25 289 (6.7%) had at least 1 ED visit with an urgent ocular condition. Use of the ED for nonurgent ocular problems was associated with younger age (P < 0.0001 for all comparisons), black race or Latino ethnicity (P < 0.0001 for both), male sex (P < 0.0001), lower income (P < 0.0001 for all comparisons), and those who frequently sought treatment at an ED for nonophthalmologic medical problems in a given year (P < 0.0001). Enrollees with established eye care professionals had a 10% reduced hazard of visiting the ED for nonurgent ocular conditions (adjusted HR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.88-0.92; P < 0.0001). Conclusions: Nearly one-quarter of enrollees who visited the ED for an ocular problem received a diagnosis of a nonurgent condition. Better educating and incentivizing patients to seek care for nonurgent ocular diseases in an office-based setting could yield considerable cost savings without adversely affecting health outcomes and could allow EDs to better serve patients with more severe conditions.
Article
Introduction Advances in imaging capabilities and the evolution of real-time teleophthalmology have the potential to provide increased coverage to areas with limited ophthalmology services. However, there is limited research assessing the diagnostic accuracy of face-to-face teleophthalmology consultation. This systematic review aims to determine if real-time teleophthalmology provides comparable accuracy to face-to-face consultation for the diagnosis of common eye health conditions. Methods A search of PubMed, Embase, Medline and Cochrane databases and manual citation review was conducted on 6 February and 7 April 2016. Included studies involved real-time telemedicine in the field of ophthalmology or optometry, and assessed diagnostic accuracy against gold-standard face-to-face consultation. The revised quality assessment of diagnostic accuracy studies (QUADAS-2) tool assessed risk of bias. Results Twelve studies were included, with participants ranging from four to 89 years old. A broad number of conditions were assessed and include corneal and retinal pathologies, strabismus, oculoplastics and post-operative review. Quality assessment identified a high or unclear risk of bias in patient selection (75%) due to an undisclosed recruitment processes. The index test showed high risk of bias in the included studies, due to the varied interpretation and conduct of real-time teleophthalmology methods. Reference standard risk was overall low (75%), as was the risk due to flow and timing (75%). Conclusion In terms of diagnostic accuracy, real-time teleophthalmology was considered superior to face-to-face consultation in one study and comparable in six studies. Store-and-forward image transmission coupled with real-time videoconferencing is a suitable alternative to overcome poor internet transmission speeds.
Chapter
PurposeDuring the last decade the number of glaucoma patients has increased by 50% in Finland. The tightened budget and the 1993 subsidy reform lead to growing community orientation and quality awareness, e.g. equal services regardless of residence. We introduce a pilot study in which teleophthalmology is applied in the care of glaucoma patients in a rural area, as well as for training purposes. Methods: A video slit-lamp, a perimeter and a non-mydriatic fundus camera and a videoconferencing system were installed in a health care center in a rural area. The camera was equipped with a video camera and a digital still recorder to obtain images from the optic disc and nerve fiber layer (RNFL). The images and visual fields were compared with the patients’ previous digital images and visual fields stored in the database. ISDN connections and special application software were utilized to meet the transfer and data storage needs. An interactive video consultation was created to the university glaucoma clinic. Twenty-nine patients with glaucoma were examined in the rural health care center in stead of the university eye clinic. The control group consisted of 41 patients examined at the eye clinic one year earlier. Results: Both patient groups were equally satisfied with the ophthalmic service. Nearly all patients in the telemedicine group (96%) wanted to have their next visit in their own health care center. The most important reasons were reduction of travelling (93%), costs (91%) and time (87%). With the current technique the evaluation of the optic disc was possible in all cases while RNFL presented less satisfactorily. Conclusion: The study will report our first experiences in setting up and applying a teleophthalmology system between two health care units. Further research is needed for evaluation of methods, technology and economics of teleophthalmology.
Article
Minimal information exists regarding the long-term comparative effectiveness of telemedicine to provide diabetic retinopathy screening examinations. To compare telemedicine to traditional eye examinations in their ability to provide diabetic retinopathy screening examinations. From August 1, 2006, through September 31, 2009, 567 participants with diabetes were randomized and followed up to 5 years of follow-up (last date of patient follow-up occurred on August 6, 2012) as part of a multicenter randomized clinical trial with an intent to treat analysis. We assigned participants to telemedicine with a nonmydriatic camera in a primary care medical clinic (n = 296) or traditional surveillance with an eye care professional (n = 271). Two years after enrollment, we offered telemedicine to all participants. Percentage of participants receiving annual diabetic retinopathy screening examinations, percentage of eyes with worsening diabetic retinopathy during the follow-up period using a validated scale from stage 0 (none) to stage 4 (proliferative diabetic retinopathy), and percentage of telemedicine participants who would require referral to an eye care professional for follow-up care using a cutoff of moderate diabetic retinopathy or worse, the presence of macular edema, or an unable-to-determine result for retinopathy or macular edema. The telemedicine group was more likely to receive a diabetic retinopathy screening examination when compared with the traditional surveillance group during the 6-month or less (94.6% [280/296] vs 43.9% [119/271]; 95% CI, 46.6%-54.8%; P < .001) and greater than 6-month through 18-month (53.0% [157/296] vs 33.2% [90/271]; 95% CI, 16.5%-23.1%; P < .001) time bins. After we offered telemedicine to both groups, we could not identify a difference between the groups in the percentage of diabetic retinopathy screening examinations. Diabetic retinopathy worsened by 2 stages or more in 35 (8.6%) of 409 participants (95% CI, 5.8%-11.2%) and improved by 2 stages or more in 5 (1.2%) of 409 participants (95% CI, 0.1%-2.3%) during the 4-year period. The percent of telemedicine participants requiring referral ranged from 19.2% (52/271) to 27.9% (58/208). Telemedicine increased the percentage of diabetic retinopathy screening examinations, most participants did not require referral to an eye care professional, and diabetic retinopathy levels were generally stable during the study period. This finding suggests that primary care clinics can use telemedicine to screen for diabetic retinopathy and monitor for disease worsening over a long period. clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01364129.
Article
Purpose: To investigate the use of a nonmydriatic digital color fundus camera and telemedicine as screening tools for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Methods: Nonmydriatic color fundus photography was performed on patients consulting health examination centers and transmitted by telemedicine to an ophthalmology department. Rates for different grades of AMD were calculated and also statistically related to the presence or absence of risk factors. Results: Among the 1,022 patients screened, a total of 1,363 color fundus photographs were interpreted, with 80% gradable images, allowing a diagnosis of AMD in 178 photographs. Among all the gradable images, 83.7% had no AMD (grade 0). The rates of AMD at grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 were 8%, 5.6%, 2.3% and 0.4%, respectively. A statistical odds ratio was found between the presence of AMD on fundus photographs and age, familial history of AMD or prior cataract surgery. Conclusions: Nonmydriatic color fundus photography and telemedicine succeeded in screening for AMD. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Article
In our previous study, in 1997, we evaluated the cost of teleconsultations in a primary care centre compared with the cost of the conventional alternative, travelling to the hospital. The results showed that teleconsultations were cheaper than patient travel when the annual workload was more than 110 patients in ophthalmology and 115 patients in dermatology. Using the same method of analysis for 2009 data showed that cost savings would occur if the annual workload was 20 patients in ophthalmology and 17 patients in dermatology. The main differences between the two studies are the reduced cost of the technology (which was based on PCs in 2009) and the increased cost of staff. Both studies show that teleconsultations can be cost-effective in a relatively small health centre. The cost of technology continues to decrease, although the other costs in our break-even analysis continue to increase. However, the usability of technology continues to improve, and this will make telemedicine a more attractive alternative in the future.
Article
To describe the United States Army Ocular Teleconsultation program and all consultations received from its inception in July 2004 through December 2009. Retrospective, noncomparative, consecutive case series. All 301 consecutive ocular teleconsultations received were reviewed. The main outcome measures were differential diagnosis, evacuation recommendations, and origination of consultation. Secondary measures included patient demographics, reason for consultation, and inclusion of clinical images. The average response time was 5 hours and 41 minutes. Most consultations originated from Iraq (58.8%) and Afghanistan (18.6%). Patient care-related requests accounted for 94.7% of consultations; nonphysicians submitted 26.3% of consultations. Most patients (220/285; 77.2%) were United States military personnel; the remainder included local nationals and coalition forces. Children accounted for 23 consultations (8.1%). Anterior segment disease represented the largest grouping of cases (129/285; 45.3%); oculoplastic problems represented nearly one quarter (68/285; 23.9%). Evacuation was recommended in 123 (43.2%) of 285 cases and in 21 (58.3%) of 36 cases associated with trauma. Photographs were included in 38.2%, and use was highest for pediatric and strabismus (83.3%) and oculoplastic (67.6%) consultations. Consultants facilitated evacuation in 87 (70.7%) of 123 consultations where evacuation was recommended and avoided unnecessary evacuations in 28 (17.3%) of 162 consultations. This teleconsultation program has brought valuable tertiary level support to deployed providers, thereby helping to facilitate appropriate and timely referrals, and in some cases avoiding unnecessary evacuation. Advances in remote diagnostic and imaging technology could further enhance consultant support to distant providers and their patients.
Article
We evaluated tele-ophthalmology for diabetic retinopathy screening in a primary care setting. Four general practitioners (GPs) were taught to assess non-mydriatic retinography images of patients with diabetes. After training, a total of 1223 patients were screened using this method: 926 (76%) did not have diabetic retinopathy and 297 (24%) were referred for an ophthalmologic assessment. Of the 297 patients, 186 (15%) did not have diabetic retinopathy and were considered to be false positives, 85 (7%) had diabetic retinopathy and in 26 cases (2%) the retinography images were unreadable. The specificity of GPs for detecting diabetic retinopathy by non-mydriatic retinography was 83%. Ophthalmologists also assessed 120 patients who had been diagnosed as normal to detect false negatives. Ten patients (8.3%) had mild non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy with small isolated retinal hemorrhages. Only one patient (0.8%) had treatable diabetic retinopathy with hard exudates and microaneurysms. The sensitivity of GPs for detecting diabetic retinopathy was 90.9%; the sensitivity for detecting treatable lesions was 99.2%. We concluded that adequately trained GPs can screen for treatable lesions of diabetic retinopathy with a very high level of reliability using non-mydriatic retinography.
Article
Tele-ophthalmology has been employed mainly for patients in under-served rural areas in need of specialty care, but other applications such as telementoring have also been used. In certain populations, cost containment is a significant issue and telemedicine is a solution. Tele-ophthalmology can be performed in realtime, by store-and-forward mode, or by hybrid techniques. After appropriate modification, a range of peripherals may be used for tele-ophthalmology, including the direct ophthalmoscope, indirect ophthalmoscope, slit lamp or retinal camera. Tele-ophthalmology applications include: detecting, screening and diagnosing diabetic retinopathy; anterior segment imaging; glaucoma screening; low vision consultation; telementoring. Tele-ophthalmology shows great promise for improving patient care and increasing access to specialty care not available in under-served areas. In developing countries tele-ophthalmology may be a cost-effective method by which richer countries can assist them.
Article
We examined the feasibility of a low-bandwidth, Internet-based tele-ophthalmology system for consultation in an ophthalmic emergency room. Forty-nine patients (98 eyes) with complicated cases were seen during night shifts in the ophthalmic emergency room. Ocular images were taken using a slit-lamp connected to a video camera, processed and transmitted to a senior physician by email. A telephone was used for real-time audio communication. Each case was re-examined by the same senior physician the following day. The time needed to capture and to process the images was 5 min (SD 2). Each case was given a feasibility score (0-100%), which was defined as the contribution made by the transmitted images in presenting clinical details which could not have been described verbally. High feasibility scores (mean scores ranging from 85 to 90) were found for the following images: ocular surface, anterior chamber, anterior chamber angle, pupils, lens, optic nerve and macula. In contrast, images of vitreous and peripheral retina received low feasibility scores (mean score 65). There was 100% agreement between the diagnosis made during consultation and the on-site examination made by the senior ophthalmologist later on. Ninety-eight percent of the patients stated that they would prefer being examined under the telemedicine system on their next emergency room visit, rather than the traditional resident on-site examination.
Liste KBV-zertifizierter Videodienstanbieter
  • Kv Baden-Württemberg
KV Baden-Württemberg (2020) Liste KBV-zertifizierter Videodienstanbieter
Implementation of a cloud-based referral platform in ophthalmology: making telemedicine services a reality in eye care
  • Fu Kernc
  • Dj
KernC,Fu DJ,KortümKetal(2020)Implementation of a cloud-based referral platform in ophthalmology: making telemedicine services a reality in eye care. Br J Ophthalmol 104:312-317
Artificial intelligence-assisted telemedicine platform for cataract screening and management: a potential modelofcareforglobaleyehealth
  • Dsj Ting
  • M Ang
  • J S Mehta
Ting DSJ, Ang M, Mehta JS et al (2019) Artificial intelligence-assisted telemedicine platform for cataract screening and management: a potential modelofcareforglobaleyehealth. BrJOphthalmol 103:1537-1538
The United States army ocular teleconsultation program
  • M J Mines
  • K S Bower
  • C M Lappan
  • MJ Mines
Real-time teleophthalmology video consultation: an analysis of patient satisfaction in rural Western Australia
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  • A W Turner
  • J Muir