The future of Optometry will include Telemedicine.

You might think the practice of tele-optometry has been necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. That because everything is going down the virtual route, it only makes sense for some aspects of the healthcare industry to follow suit.

The truth is, tele-optometry has been around since retinal imaging was taken at the VA almost 20 years ago. Fast forward today, and the idea of virtual eye appointments have gained traction. While it was mostly the patients that needed convincing, optometrists everywhere found themselves facing an alternate reality where they were expected to make significant changes to their practice.

Supporters of tele-optometry claim remote testing will help make services accessible to more people, whereas naysayers are of the opinion that this may adversely affect the importance of in-person evaluation and treatment.

The fact remains that COVID-19 has forced us into doing things virtually. While the idea of tele-optometry may seem challenging, there are a few reasons why an increasing number of patients have come to prefer it.

Convenience

Patients think of telemedicine as a convenience. There are plenty of ways to incorporate telemedicine in to optometry offices. Simple ways are contact lens follow ups and dry eye and myopia management consultations. Many EHRs have the software for it and other new softwares are being implemented to incorporate new telemedicine services for optometry practices.

Speaking to the convenience aspect pushed forth by tele-optometry, even older patients have grown comfortable with the idea.

Needing to take time off work to do a follow up visit. Patients are finding it easier to simply use their phones and computers to get the job done. This also means no more long waits, which is definitely a bonus. In a world that is so busy, patients would appreciate the convenience of follow up visits especially for contact lens checks and other consultations that might not involve equipment needed in the office.

Reduced exposure to germs

Pandemic or no pandemic, it is never advisable for anyone to expose themselves to germs and risk falling sick. But because COVID-19 symptoms have been known to quickly prove fatal, tele-optometry presents itself as a more than viable option in these unprecedented times.

Technology to help with the Exam.

Across the board, patients have approved of tele-optometry, and have not found it to be lacking in terms of the standard of care provided.

As evidenced by the aforementioned, tele-optometry has proven to be a successful model when it comes to catering to patients virtually. Given patients’ trust and ease navigating this virtual space, we can safely assume that tele-optometry is not just a temporary solution, but a definitive way forward.

Tele optometry can add value to the practice but is not taking away an in person eye exam. This is an addition to your practice and a new demographic of patients.

Admin Day with all Benefits

It is inevitable that there will be paper work. Many ODs set a day or time aside for an admin day. While planning your admin day you can reduce hours of operation and help with the net of the practice. You are able to see patients on a regular schedule and not have to pay for space or staff.

Corporate Opticals have already adapted this model

Many Corporate opticals have had a tough time finding ODs to work in their locations. Telemed services help fill the gap for finding ODs and for slow locations that can’t afford to pay an OD for full time.

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