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Ava K Bittner, Tony Succar, Angie Bowers, Pat Yoshinaga, John Shepherd, Andrew Jacobson, Nicole Ross; Low Vision Patients’ Satisfaction with Telerehabilitation Encounters. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(8):1352.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
A recent Cochrane systematic review found no research studies with results on the topic of telerehabilitation for low vision (LV). Our goal was to perform the initial steps to develop, refine, execute and evaluate the components required to deliver follow-up LV telerehabilitation services involving remote communication between an LV provider in-office and LV patient at home.
We conducted telerehabilitation encounters with eight older adults who had bilateral vision loss due to AMD or diabetic retinopathy and recently received a hand-held magnification device for reading. Subjects self-reported difficulty with returning for follow up rehabilitation training sessions at the provider's office and resided in a state in which our study's providers (LV OT or ODs) are licensed to practice (i.e., KS, MO, MA, CA). Participants’ provided ratings for the use of loaner devices (i.e., iPad mini, Android tablets, Verizon MiFi, external speakers, weBoost antenna) and commercially available, HIPAA compliant, secure videoconferencing (zoom.us) to communicate at home with an in-office LV provider and receive training on the use of their magnifier while reading MNread cards.
All subjects indicated being satisfied with receiving LV telerehabilitation; half of them were very satisfied. All subjects agreed that they were comfortable receiving telerehabilitation and being evaluated via videoconferencing; half of them strongly agreed with this statement. Six of 8 subjects (75%) reported their hand-held magnifier use had improved after the telerehabilitation session. All except one subject reported they were very interested in receiving telerehabilitation services again if their visual needs change. Video quality was rated excellent by 3 subjects (38%) and good by 4 subjects (50%). Audio quality was rated as good to excellent by 5 subjects (63%), since Android tablets prior to implementation of the iPad were affected by reduced signal strength and thus poor audio for 3 patients in KS/MO. All except one participant had never used videoconferencing prior to our study, and 3 subjects (38%) had never used the Internet. Additional subjects/sessions will be presented.
Positive feedback from participants in this pilot study supports the feasibility and potential value of LV telerehabilitation, which may be helpful to improve quality of life and access to care by eliminating barriers (e.g., transportation to office visits).
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2017 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Baltimore, MD, May 7-11, 2017.
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