July 2018
Volume 59, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2018
The Online Face of U.S. Academic Ophthalmology
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Samuel Leeman
    Ophthalmology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
  • Tedi Begaj
    Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • omar helmy
    Ophthalmology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
  • Shlomit Schaal
    Ophthalmology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Samuel Leeman, None; Tedi Begaj, None; omar helmy, None; Shlomit Schaal, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2018, Vol.59, 5238. doi:
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      Samuel Leeman, Tedi Begaj, omar helmy, Shlomit Schaal; The Online Face of U.S. Academic Ophthalmology. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):5238.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose : Academic departments provide online material in order to best serve their users. This study aims to comprehensively analyze the available online content of U.S. academic ophthalmology institutes.

Methods : In this cross-sectional analysis, 117 academic ophthalmology departments were evaluated. Data was obtained on a variety of characteristics (clinical access and subspecialty services, social media, patient support measures, residency & fellowship details, and faculty information). In addition, a gender distribution of residents, fellows and faculty was calculated. Finally, a comparison of comprehensiveness and navigation time of the top 13 ranked institutions (T13) to the rest of the academia (AO96) was performed.

Results : Institutions have a similar website backbone containing an address, contact information, resident and faculty characteristics and clinical expertise in cornea, retina, and glaucoma. However, few (42.7%) provide a means to schedule an appointment online, seventy (59.8%) supply educational material for common eye conditions and procedures, and 40-60% list emergency & trauma, oncology, and low vision rehabilitation services. In addition, fifty-eight (49.6%) institutions provide a means to connect with a social network, while eighty-one (69.2%) support a charitable foundation web page or capabilities to donate online. Least commonly found characteristics involve website transformability: scaling text size or changing color, and multi-lingual capabilities (20.5%, 4.3%, 8.5%, respectively) are exceedingly limited. In terms of gender distribution, academic institutions seem male dominated, with females representing 41.9% of residents, 43.1% fellows, 35.5% clinical faculty and only 12.8% at the highest leadership level (department chair or director). Lastly, in category of comparison of the T13 with AO96, the high ranking departments are significantly more comprehensive, yet as fast or requiring no more clicks to navigate to a desired location.

Conclusions : Academic ophthalmology departments provide a basic core of online content, but few are comprehensively serving the needs of their diverse users. There also exists a large discrepancy between the percentage of females in residency and fellowship with that of females in clinical faculty and at the highest leadership position. We anticipate that our analysis can be used to improve online content and website design among ophthalmology institutions.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.


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