Because of the recent Coronavirus pandemic and the risk of transmission with in person visit to a healthcare provider, Marshall Ophthalmology has worked hard to integrate telemedicine into our practice. Based on a phone screening to determine appropriateness of remote evaluation, we have been performing telehealth visits for certain complaints and conditions.
Telehealth describes health care delivery over distance or time using electronic communication technologies and serves to enhance health care access, quality and patient satisfaction. Telemedicine is used to describe provision of a traditional clinical service delivery using electronic communication technology, often in a live format. The term telehealth adds diagnosis, management, education and administration well beyond traditional health care delivery. The rapid improvement of electronic imaging capability and biometric data acquisition in ophthalmology, combined with parallel advancements in health information technology and widely available broadband connectivity, has created new pathways for delivery of eye care services.
The information may be used for diagnosis, therapy, follow-up and/or education, and may include any of the following:
• Patient medical records
• Medical images
• Live two-way audio and video
• Output data from medical devices and sound and video files
The electronic systems used will attempt to incorporate security protocols to protect the confidentiality of patient identification and imaging data and will include measures to safeguard the data and to ensure its integrity against corruption.
The laws that protect privacy and the confidentiality of medical information also apply to telemedicine, and no information obtained in the use of telemedicine will be disclosed to other entities without my consent.
A patient has the right to withhold or withdraw consent to the use of telemedicine in the course of care at any time, without affecting his/her right to future care or treatment.
A patient has the right to inspect all information obtained in the course of a telemedicine interaction and may receive copies of this information.
• Improved access to medical care by enabling a patient to remain in his/her location while the healthcare provider provides medical information from a distant site
• Limiting the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases
• Ability to obtain consultation from a distant medical specialist without traveling
• Conservation of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and masks to reduce shortages for healthcare providers
• Allow medical evaluation and management of patients who are unable to travel
As with any medical procedure, there are risks associated with the use of telemedicine. These risks include, but may not be limited to:
• Information transmitted may not be sufficient to allow for appropriate medical decision making by the health care provider. For instance, certain parameters of the eye examination cannot be tested remotely, such as eye pressure. In addition, there may be poor resolution of images. This may cause a delay in medical evaluation and treatment.
• Security protocols could fail, causing a breach of privacy of personal medical information.
If you would like more information about our telehealth services or think you may have an issue that is amenable to evaluation and management remotely, please call our office at (269) 781-4018.