Barrero-Castillero A, Corwin BK, VanderVeen DK, Wang JC. Workforce Shortage for Retinopathy of Prematurity Care and Emerging Role of Telehealth and Artificial Intelligence. Pediatr Clin North Am 2020;67(4):725-733.Abstract
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is the leading cause of childhood blindness in very-low-birthweight and very preterm infants in the United States. With improved survival of smaller babies, more infants are at risk for ROP, yet there is an increasing shortage of providers to screen and treat ROP. Through a literature review of new and emerging technologies, screening criteria, and analysis of a national survey of pediatric ophthalmologists and retinal specialists, the authors found the shortage of ophthalmology workforce for ROP a serious and growing concern. When used appropriately, emerging technologies have the potential to mitigate gaps in the ROP workforce.
Parikh D, Armstrong G, Liou V, Husain D. Advances in Telemedicine in Ophthalmology. Semin Ophthalmol 2020;:1-6.Abstract
Telemedicine is the provision of healthcare-related services from a distance and is poised to move healthcare from the physician's office back into the patient's home. The field of ophthalmology is often at the forefront of technological advances in medicine including telemedicine and the use of artificial intelligence. Multiple studies have demonstrated the reliability of tele-ophthalmology for use in screening and diagnostics and have demonstrated benefits to patients, physicians, as well as payors. There remain obstacles to widespread implementation, but recent legislation and regulation passed due to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic have helped to reduce some of these barriers. This review describes the current status of tele-ophthalmology in the United States including benefits, hurdles, current programs, technology, and developments in artificial intelligence. With ongoing advances patients may benefit from improved detection and earlier treatment of eye diseases, resulting in better care and improved visual outcomes.
Dobry A, Begaj T, Mengistu K, Sinha S, Droms R, Dunlap R, Wu D, Adhami K, Stavert R. Implementation and Impact of a Store-and-Forward Teledermatology Platform in an Urban Academic Safety-Net Health Care System. Telemed J E Health 2020;Abstract
Minority and low-income patients disproportionately experience dermatologic access challenges. Store-and-forward (SAF) teledermatology has emerged as a model of care delivery that may improve access. We sought to evaluate patterns of utilization and overall impact after SAF teledermatology implementation in a safety-net health care system. We performed a retrospective review of 3,285 teledermatology consultations from 2014 to 2017 in an urban academic safety-net health care system. A total of 1,680 (51.2%) patients were referred for inflammatory/rash conditions and 967 (29.5%) for skin lesions. The teledermatologist recommended in-person evaluation in 1,199 encounters (36.5%). Median wait time for a subsequent appointment was 36 days (range 0-244 days). Of subsequent in-clinic visits, 237 patients (26.4%) underwent skin biopsy. No-show rate after referral was 11.8%. In comparison, median wait time for dermatology appointment through standard referral was 64 days, with a no-show rate of 18.6%. Biopsy rate of patients referred via teledermatology was 26.4%, in comparison to a rate of 10.9% of patients referred directly from primary care provider. Implementation of SAF teledermatology in a safety-net health system resulted in avoidance of 63.5% potential dermatology visits. Consultation typically resulted in a change in suspected diagnosis or management plan. Rates of concordance between teledermatology consults and in-person evaluations were high. Median wait time was reduced by almost half, no-show rate was reduced ∼37%, and biopsy rate was more than double for teledermatology patients compared with standard referral. These findings suggest that SAF teledermatology may improve access to high-quality dermatologic care and increase clinic efficiencies for patients in safety-net health care systems.
Bowe T, Hunter DG, Mantagos IS, Kazlas M, Jastrzembski BG, Gaier ED, Massey G, Franz K, Schumann C, Brown C, Meyers H, Shah AS. Virtual Visits in Ophthalmology: Timely Advice for Implementation During the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis. Telemed J E Health 2020;26(9):1113-1117.Abstract
Virtual visits (VVs) are necessitated due to the public health crisis and social distancing mandates due to COVID-19. However, these have been rare in ophthalmology. Over 3.5 years of conducting >350 ophthalmological VVs, our group has gained numerous insights into best practices. This communication shares these experiences with the medical community to support patient care during this difficult time and beyond. We highlight that mastering the technological platform of choice, optimizing lighting, camera positioning, and "eye contact," being thoughtful and creative with the virtual eye examination, and ensuring good documenting and billing will make a successful and efficient VV. Moreover, we think these ideas will stimulate further VV creativity and expertise to be developed in ophthalmology and across medicine. This approach, holds promise for increasing its adoption after the crisis has passed.