While the shift to telemedicine was already happening in some healthcare areas in the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated that shift, revolutionizing healthcare practitioners practice medicine. This change to telemedicine has quickly become routine and not likely to return to how it was during pre-pandemic times. One of those fields of healthcare embracing telemedicine in the field of eye care.
How Eyecare is Embracing Telemedicine
When you think of eye care, it’s not easy to see how that particular healthcare field can take care of its patients through telemedicine, especially with eye tests, placing your chin on a pad, and looking through lenses while the doctor tests your vision. These days, it’s possible to perform vision screenings on mobile devices, such as retinal imaging, and monitor eye health.
Another change the telemedicine provides is that patients and doctors can communicate asynchronously. These changes mean the patient doesn’t have to take time off work to speak with their eye doctor.
Remote Eye Care Enhances In-Person Care
Naturally, there will be times when remote eye care is not an option, and the patient will have to see their provider in-person, such as specific tests and the need for hands-on diagnostic testing and procedures. Ocular telemedicine isn’t a replacement for in-person care but only serves to enhance the field of eye care and make things easier for both the patient and the provider. Since it’s possible to perform vision screenings on mobile devices, the patient no longer needs to spend time at their provider’s office.
Policy Changes Make Ocular Telemedicine Simpler
The COVID-19 pandemic forced those who provide health insurance to improve their telemedicine reimbursement policies. These changes broaden access to Medicare telemedicine, as well as a broader range of services. There’s also new legislation regarding maintenance and improvements to the telehealth system, making it more accessible. There are also signs that these changes in the telehealth system will stay even after the pandemic ends.