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Jochen Straub, Thomas Callan, Katherine Makedonsky, Patricia Sha, Pranav Malvania, Mary K Durbin; Clinical use of fully remote-controlled retinal optical coherence tomography (OCT) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(8):1745.
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Physical separation is the most effective means of protecting patients and clinical staff from the spread of the coronavirus. In order to be able to continue clinical studies in a safe environment, we have developed an imaging workflow that uses fully remote-controlled diagnostic OCT devices in clinical studies.
Retinal OCT imaging was performed using commercially available OCT devices, remote desktop access software and consumer video conferencing technology on mobile phones and tablets. This method completely separates the patient from the operator and creates the safest condition during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have used CIRRUSTM HD-OCT 5000 (ZEISS, Dublin, CA), CIRRUSTM 6000 (ZEISS, Dublin, CA), and PLEX® Elite 9000 (ZEISS, Dublin, CA). We have used Facetime, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams video conferencing software and TeamViewer remote desktop software.
From March to November 2020, we have conducted 12 remote clinical studies. Imaging was performed by 4 different operators. We have imaged 158 eyes of 79 healthy volunteers aged from 30-65 years old. During each imaging session we captured between 4 and 10 OCT scans per eye. Every imaging session was performed entirely remotely with the volunteer in the office and the operator controlling the device from their home. Figure 1 shows the setup of a remote-controlled imaging setup illustrating the remote desktop software shown on a laptop computer as well as the Facetime video conferencing setup.
We have demonstrated that during pandemics like COVID-19, OCT retinal imaging studies can be performed in a safe environment by completely separating patient and operator and using video conferencing and remote desktop software. We were able to complete all OCT scan acquisitions requested in the clinical studies. The exam time did not appear to be longer than during in-person exams.
This is a 2021 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
Figure 1: Illustration of remote-control use of CIRRUS 6000 using TeamViewer remote desktop software and commercial video conferencing technology on a tablet.
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