Use of Teleophthalmology for Evaluation of Ophthalmic Emergencies by Ophthalmology Residents in the Emergency Department

Citation:

Shah YS, Fliotsos MJ, Alaqeel A, Boland MV, Zafar S, Srikumaran D, Woreta FA. Use of Teleophthalmology for Evaluation of Ophthalmic Emergencies by Ophthalmology Residents in the Emergency Department. Telemed J E Health 2021;

Date Published:

2021 Oct 06

Abstract:

Background: Utilizing telemedicine is one approach to reduce the ever-increasing burden of patients on emergency departments (EDs) and consulting physicians. Utilization of telemedicine services in the ED may also benefit resident education. Materials and Methods: Ten first-year ophthalmology residents were trained to use a Topcon 3D Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)-1 Maestro to capture OCT images and fundus photos in patients presenting to the ED with urgent ophthalmic concerns. Findings were communicated to the supervising ophthalmologist. Retrospective chart review was conducted to obtain patient characteristics and final ophthalmologist diagnosis. Residents rated ease of use, technical reliability, and educational value through a survey. Results: From December 1, 2019, to December 1, 2020, the device was used in 109 patient encounters, capturing 887 images (average 8.1 images per encounter). Patients on whom the device was used were on average 48.5 years old (±17.2, range 17-90) and 59.6% were female. The imaging device was utilized most commonly for evaluating papilledema (n = 21, 18.6%), new-onset visual acuity/visual field defects (n = 12, 10.6%), retinal detachment/tear (n = 8, 7.1%), and ophthalmic trauma workup (n = 8, 7.1%). Eight residents completed the survey and most (n = 7) agreed or strongly agreed that the device helped them diagnose patients more accurately. Technical issues such as machine malfunction, image artifacts, and problems syncing with the electronic health record and computer were noted by survey respondents. Conclusions: The most common use of teleophthalmology in the ED setting was evaluation of papilledema; the majority of residents perceived an educational benefit from this tool. Efforts should be made to address the technical challenges to increase the utility of this device.

Last updated on 10/31/2021