Ocular telehealth—providing on-demand comprehensive eye exams using remote digital connections— is a new concept in corporate optometry. The rapid development of new technologies is creating opportunities for sublease doctors–and providing greater access and better outcomes for patients.
Among the different flavors of ocular telehealth is a model that includes a B2B in-store/practice comprehensive eye exam. The exam begins when an on-site optical assistant collects the patient’s medical and ocular history and performs objective pre-testing and a series of eye health tests such as ocular alignment and motility, [pupil function, color vision, and visual field testing to measure peripheral vision. Following those tests, a remote certified technician subjectively refracts the patient via live video. The resulting exam data and images are then securely forwarded to a remote licensed optometrist for clinical evaluation and the results are discussed with the patient via live video.
Because this new model leverages advances in technology to provide comprehensive testing— and it relies on a licensed eyecare provider—the standard of care is equivalent to that of an in- person exam. In fact, in some ways, the standard of care is enhanced through the use of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) that make it possible to enhance retinal images to allow for early detection of eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy.
“AI is a very big thing,” says Chad Overman, OD, clinical advisor for 20/20NOW and former director of professional relations for Walmart Vision Centers. “ AI enhances retinal images in never-before-possible ways to increase the sensitivity and efficacy of exams, and enables eyecare providers to diagnose ocular medical conditions with greater confidence.” The 20/20NOW platform implements EyelogicTM, the company’s AI technology designed to assist doctors in diagnosing diabetic retinopathy in its early stages.
4 WAYS TELEHEALTH CAN GROW YOUR BUSINESS
For eyecare providers that sublease space at optical retail locations , ocular telehealth provides unique opportunities to expand their practice. Here are four important ways it can open the door to additional patients and provide better productivity:
1. OPEN NEW SUBLEASE LOCATIONS. Eyecare providers are always seeking ways to
increase their revenue. Telehealth makes it possible to support adding a new sublease location without the need to staff it with a full-time doctor on-site. By using telehealth, patients in your satellite location can be seen remotely, by either yourself or a 20/20NOW doctor. So, you’re able to conduct exams at more than one location, thus increasing your productivity while expanding your practice’s reach.
2. INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY AT YOUR CURRENT LOCATION. Telehealth can help you
increase productivity and patient volume at your existing location. By adopting a telehealth model, you can open a second exam lane without the cost of adding a second in-person doctor at your location, and/or expand your hours of operations. Because telehealth exams are provided on demand you’ll always have a second doctor available to support overflow and walk-in patients.
3. SERVE PATIENTS WHILE YOU’RE AWAY. Telehealth makes it possible for you to serve patients while you’re away from the office. 20/20NOW’s doctor can provide exam services to patients while you’re on vacation or attending a CE training program—even on weekends or evenings when you’re not physically there.
4. SERVE PATIENTS BETTER. By taking over some of the more time-consuming, routine components of eye exams, telehealth can free you up to do what you really want to do—spend more time with patients and address their medical needs. You’ll serve more patients in a shorter amount of time, while increasing care quality and patient satisfaction.
Telehealth promises to continue to serve as a powerful platform for providing comprehensive eye health exams and for building patient volume and revenues at corporate sublease practices. “Optical telehealth solutions like 20/20NOW are truly the future of optical retail,” says Dr. Overman. “For ODs operating from corporate sublease locations, it will be a great way to increase revenues and lower costs. More important, it will improve quality of care and patient outcomes.”