4 Ways to Offer Quality Telemedicine for Older Patients with Eye Loss

While many ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeons, ophthalmologists, ocularists, and others are offering virtual visits for some types of patient encounters, some health professionals worry about the ability of older patients to successfully navigate a telemedicine appointment. With a little extra support, the majority of seniors can have quality care in a virtual setting. These four steps will help ensure your older patients have an effective online visit.

1. Train Your Staff

Make sure everyone in your office, including you, has a thorough understanding of how your telemedicine platform works. Staff members that will directly work with patients should be able to talk them through steps to take and troubleshoot any common issues.

It’s also a good idea to have the patient’s phone number with you at the time of the appointment. If there is a technology glitch or user error that can’t be corrected quickly, you may be able to conduct a phone visit instead.

2. Offer Written and Verbal Directions

Prepare a printed page with easy-to-read written instructions for the virtual visit and email it to your patients in advance. Include screenshots and step-by-step instructions. You should also have a staff member call the patient on the phone to make sure they feel comfortable with the directions.

3. Let Patients Test it Out

If you have a patient that seems unsure or reluctant to try the technology, let them do a mini, 5-minute session with your office staff before the day of the appointment. Patients may also want to enlist the help of children or a tech-savvy friend to help them on a test run.  Typically, once a patient has used the new technology for the first time, they’ll feel more confident the day of the visit and be able to focus on their health needs and your directions instead of worrying about controls, sound, etc.

4. Design Your Virtual Visit Process

Make sure you have created a standard procedure for your virtual eye exams. Think through the steps you’ll need to take in order to provide the same quality of care you would in the office. For example, do you need an assistant or technician to ask the patient preliminary questions before you connect with the patient? Can you share pictures or images you might normally use to explain a condition or procedure on your screen? Will you need to email the patient a written, after-visit summary? Having a precise process in place will help virtual visits feel both effective and efficient.

Virtual Visits with Carolina Eye Prosthetics

Carolina Eye Prosthetics was offering virtual consultation appointments before the pandemic began. We’ve been able to use that capability more often during COVID-19. For patients who need an in-person visit, our office is following all CDC guidelines for safety.

If you have an adult or pediatric patient who needs a prosthetic eye, conformer therapy, or a scleral shell, contact us today. Refer a patient by phone or email.