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Telemedicine

Why & How Eye Care Professionals Should Embrace Telemedicine

Telemedicine can be a scary concept for a clinician. In a world where we see eye exams offered online, patients getting access to medical devices with expired prescriptions, and the doctor patient relationship continually being devalued due to websites that boast of self-diagnosis through myriads of medical information and technology, it is natural to be hesitant to accept platforms that might go against everything that you are taught in Optometry School of Ophthalmology Residency programs.

HAVEN which stands for Health and Vision Evaluation Network is a health ecosystem that is being introduced to the medical world as an opportunity to use technology to strengthen the Doctor Patient relationship and to provide meaningful interactions with your patients. Not only does it allow one to receive HIPAA compliant messages from patients, but it also allows patients the ability to become engaged in their own health by regular Visual Acuity and Amsler Grid screenings through Eyecare Live. Day to day, doctors make significant decisions regarding their patients’ health care, but it is important to remember that it is alright to ask for referrals or expert opinions when findings require further evaluation. HAVEN brings this platform to life with PeerMed. This app allows doctors to create their own referral network and send data for review to other specialists, again all HIPAA compliant. With HAVEN, dry eye and contact lens patients benefit through the incorporation of the AOS software which can evaluate fluorescein lacrimal lakes, vessel enlargement, and contact lens specialty fits among many other functionalities.

HAVEN provides an opportunity for the eyecare world to participate in a telemedicine ecosystem that does not fracture the doctor patient relationship but instead allows us to provide standard or care if not more for our patients. It acts as a facilitator for impactful healthcare through communication, monitoring, guidance, and trend analysis. I truly believe that accessibility is crucial to patients and this platform allows patients who might not have been evaluated to gain entry into the healthcare system and create a touchpoint to primary eye care that could significantly impact their eye health and even their systemic health.

Every day a new advancement in tele-eyecare makes its way onto the global market. Adaptation and continued learning is critical in our profession to ensure that we as Doctors provide progressive and superior patient care. Why not become a part of an innovative telemedicine ecosystem now to help shape the future of eye care? My thought is…why not?

About the Author Katharine Funari, O.D.

Katharine Funari O.D. is a recent graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University and will be continuing her studies as a Resident this coming July in the Pediatrics and Binocular Vision Unit at The Eye Institute in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Funari served as one of the Keeler Student Ambassadors while at Salus in addition to other leadership positions. Dr. Funari is pursuing a Master of Public Health through Nova Southeastern University with the hopes of advocating for rights of Optometrists as well eye care for children.

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