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.