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Nicole Ross, Pat Yoshinaga, Angie Bowers, Tony Succar, John Shepherd, Ava K Bittner; Providers’ Ratings of their Experiences with Delivering Remote Telerehabilitation Services to Low Vision Patients. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(8):3272. doi: https://doi.org/.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
A recent systematic review found no publications with results for telerehabilitation for low vision (LV). We explored the delivery of follow-up LV rehabilitation services using a commercially available, HIPAA compliant videoconference platform and requisite hardware devices. Our goal was to perform the initial steps needed to develop, refine, execute and evaluate components required to deliver telerehabilitation involving remote communication between a LV provider and patient.
Three LV providers (1 OT licensed in KS and MO; 2 ODs from MA and CA) conducted telerehabilitation sessions from their office with eight adults in their homes. Subjects had bilateral vision loss due to AMD or diabetic retinopathy, recently received a hand-held magnification device for reading, and self-reported difficulty with returning for follow-up rehabilitation training at their provider's office. We obtained providers’ ratings for the use of hardware devices (i.e., iPad mini, Android tablets, Verizon MiFi, external speakers) and secure videoconference software (zoom.us) during telerehabilitation sessions at which MNread charts were used to evaluate reading.
Using the preferred tablet, providers had no difficulty with evaluating subjects’ reading speed with their magnification device for all participants except one for whom there was only a little difficulty. For a majority of the subjects (n=5), providers had no difficulty with determining reading accuracy, while in three other cases they reported only a little difficulty, which was largely due to fair to poor audio quality in KS/MO when using Android tablets, prior to the implementation of iPads in MA/CA for which the audio was rated excellent or very good. For all subjects except one, the providers reported only a little (n=4) or no difficulty (n=3) with observing the subjects’ working distance with their magnifier. Providers rated the video quality as good (n=3), very good (n=3) and excellent (n=2). To all subjects but one, the providers gave feedback they thought would be helpful to improve their magnifier use.
Feedback from providers in this pilot study supports the feasibility of evaluating LV patients’ hand-held magnifier use for reading via telerehabilitation and is valuable to determine requisite hardware and software needed in future randomized controlled trials to evaluate the efficacy of telerehabilitation.
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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