June 2021
Volume 62, Issue 8
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2021
Telemedicine quality assessment by eye clinic patients at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lindsay Anne Rhodes
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, Alabama, United States
  • Poojitha Balakrishnan
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, Alabama, United States
  • Thomas A. Swain
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, Alabama, United States
  • Juno Cho
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Alp Atik
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, Alabama, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Lindsay Rhodes, None; Poojitha Balakrishnan, None; Thomas Swain, None; Juno Cho, None; Alp Atik, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1U01DP006441) and National Eye Institute grants (NIH/NEI 1K23EY025724-01A1), with supplemental support from the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, and Research to Prevent Blindness, New York, NY
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2021, Vol.62, 1753. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      Lindsay Anne Rhodes, Poojitha Balakrishnan, Thomas A. Swain, Juno Cho, Alp Atik; Telemedicine quality assessment by eye clinic patients at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(8):1753.

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

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Abstract

Purpose : The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented challenges on the provision of eye care. This study assessed patient attitudes about eye care with relation to visit type at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic when eye care offices were limiting patient visits to urgent and emergent care based on recommendations from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Methods : This is a cross-sectional survey of patients who completed either an in-person or telemedicine visit or who deferred their previously scheduled visit at the Callahan Eye Hospital & Clinics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham during April 2020. Quantitative self-reported responses about eyesight quality, worry about eyesight, and satisfaction were collected. Responses to qualitative questions were categorized positively or negatively by themes of quality, risk, precaution, convenience, trust, and communication. Responses were assessed by visit type and compared using Fisher’s exact or the Pearson chi-square test.

Results : 450 patients completed the survey with a mean age 55.1 ± 22.7 years. The majority were female (63.7%) and white (54.7%). A greater number of patients reporting fair to very poor eyesight were seen in-person (25.6%) or by telemedicine (40.0%) compared to those who deferred (19.1%) (p=0.0005). Worrying about eyesight some, most or all of the time was significantly greater in patients seen in-person (18.8%) or by telemedicine (14.9%) compared to deferral (9.7%) (p=0.0002). When asked about feelings regarding their visit, those who had a telemedicine visit more frequently responded with a positive comment about quality (p<0.0001) while those completing in-person visits were more positive regarding precaution (p<0.0001). There were no significant differences by visit type with regard to positive or negative comments on risk, trust, and communication. Patients completing a telemedicine visit less frequently reported complete satisfaction (67.8%) compared to deferred (86.3%) and in-person visits (74.4%) (p=0.0001).

Conclusions : Patient responses demonstrate that telemedicine may be an acceptable modality for eye health management, especially among patients with fair to poor eyesight. During the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine may provide a way for patients worried about their eyesight to feel supported by their eye care provider. Further analysis regarding patient satisfaction with telemedicine is needed.

This is a 2021 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.

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