‘Teleoptometry’ provides opportunity to grow patient-provider relationship
ATLANTA — The interest in telemedicine as an opportunity to reach more patients and streamline health care has grown in several specialties, and Mike Rothschild, OD, discussed his experience with telemedicine in eye care at this year’s SECO meeting.
“Telemedicine is the future, and I’ve seen several trends that can help out optometry,” Rothschild, from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tenn., said during his presentation. He explained that he started a new practice with the intention to explore what he calls, “teleoptometry.”
His presentation focused on the importance of security and remaining HIPAA compliant, the types of telemedicine visits, and current technology and software.
Types of visits include asynchronous, in which images or data are stored and forwarded to an optometrist to analyze; synchronous, in which the meeting occurs live over a video platform; or remote monitoring with FDA-approved codes that allow a patient to use specific technology at home to follow IOP.
“Patients come in about four times a year to have their pressure checked; that’s what we base our findings on,” Rothschild said. “What if we could check pressure four times a day and look at it every month? What if we could set an alert if the pressure got too high or too low?”
These opportunities could provide not only an “antidote for doctor burnout,” he said, but can improve the relationship between patient and provider.
Currently available technology includes app-based eye exams, screening cameras for diabetic retinopathy and video conferencing with the HIPAA-compliant Zoom application (Zoom Video Communications).
“If you decide to incorporate some teleoptometry into your practice, you have to continue to make the clinical decisions. As long as we’re making the decisions, as long as we’re the ones making sure that the patient is taken care of, this is a good opportunity,” Rothschild said. “We have made it too complicated with how much it takes to get to the doctor. We have to make it easier and we have to make it welcoming.”
Reference: Rothschild M. MedPro360: Why I decided to create a telemedicine optometric practice and how I did it. Presented at: SECO; March 4-10, 2020; Atlanta, Ga.