Now you can love your eyes without going outside!
SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT iTELEHEALTH
iTELEHEALTH allows you the optometrist to offer optometry consultations to people who would otherwise not have access to advice or that would have to make extraordinary or inconvenient efforts to come into your store.
During COVID-19 lockdown phases, telehealth also allows you to increase turnover thus keeping your store afloat. You are also minimizing the risks of exposure to patients, staff and yourselves.
There are many reasons a person may not easily be able to come to you. Below are just a few:
Long or antisocial hours can make it hard to come to a store.
People without cars don't have the same level of flexibility.
It can be tough for people who live further away.
Vulnerable or high-risk people may be nervous about coming to a mall or shopping centre.
Often, one look is all it takes - you can diagnose an eye health issue in seconds, rather than a patient going to all the trouble of coming to you.
By using iTELEHEALTH , you can save your patients time, money and hassle.
WHAT IS iTELEHEALTH?
A platform that lets you conduct optometric consultations online, and share eye health information with patients.
If you don't already have it, download the Google Meet App.
This App has been rated as safe and HIPPA-compliant (Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) by SAOA-linked medical malpractice insurance providers.
All you need is Wi-Fi...
Both parties (optometrist and patient) need to have access to the following:
A PC, tablet or phone with a camera.
Accurate record keeping.
Video consultations can be recorded (you'll need to create a Google suite admin account - or contact the Vision Works Head Office for assistance).
Recorded consultations will be stored on the organiser’s Google Drive you might want to:
• Upgrade your Google Drive account to get more storage • Store video consultations securely offline
GOOGLE DRIVE STORAGE
Needs to be compliant with HPCSA guidelines
Notes of the consultation will be taken digitally on a device which can be saved as a document to be stored both offsite (on the local device) and using Google Drive.
Patient files can be stored on a “cloud-based solution” to facilitate file-sharing with colleagues. Instructions to set up a “Onedrive” account can be obtained from the Vision Works Head Office.
• Google’s security protocols are of a high standard.
• Account security parameters can be updated and changed with ease.
The operating process is simple: a link will be shared between Vision Works and the patient. The patient will then follow the log-in instructions through their Gmail account.
The whole world has already started using telemedicine. Not just optometrists but doctors and other medical specialists as well.
iTELEHEALTH serves an important screening function, in that patients would be able to have completed a COVID-related questionnaire beforehand to link any of their symptoms with the disease.
If the patient needs to come in and see you, you already have most of their background information.
iTELEHEALTH provides a platform where the optometrist will be able to ask vital information, to determine if there
is a need to see the patient immediately or in the future.
iTELEHEALTH creates a link between the patient and optometrist, and gives the patient the opportunity to ask questions, in case they are unsure whether they need the services of an optometrist, or be referred to an ophthalmologist.
iTELEHEALTH offers the potential to integrate OCT and fundus cameras to screen patients and avoid unnecessary ophthalmologist referrals.
Teleconsultations may be the missing link between private and government health care, in that the optometrist can provide the patient their scans, to take with them to the government hospitals that may be under-resourced.
As the National Health Initiative is rolled out, Government will likely support any healthcare initiative that provides ease of access to the healthcare services for disenfranchised or disadvantaged citizens.
Most medical aids are geared up for claims and reimbursement.
By using the existing Google Meet App, iTELEHEALTH is much more cost-effective than creating a new platform.
IT'S WORTH REMEMBERING...
At this point, iTELEHEALTH is only being allowed for as long as we are in a lockdown situation.
Resistance by patience to being billed
As they may feel that things should be for free if you did not physically see them
iTELEHEALTH IS MORE LIKE A CONVERSATION WITH THE PATIENT
Ninety percent of the time, the optometrist would be likely to suggest the patient rather comes in, once again due to the need to take the examination further (where necessary), liability, accountability and responsibility.
There are several publications (see attached namely “Navigating Telehealth Webinar Q&A, where the general consensus is that telehealth will become an important fixture in healthcare practice.)
WHAT COULD BE COVERED IN A iTELEHEALTH CONSULTATION?
EXTENSION OF A CONTACT LENS PRESCRIPTION
Only if the optometrist has the patient’s history at hand. In other words, if they are aware of that specific individual's behaviour pertaining to the use of their contact lenses.
A professional decision can be made to allow the patient to receive additional boxes of contact lenses without coming into the store. Prescriptions for new patients cannot be issued using iTELEHEALTH.
CONSULTATION AND ADVICE
Advice on winter eye care and the use of lubricants without contact lenses in place.
On symptomatology relating to allergies, and the recommendation of OTC (over the counter) medication.
ANTI-HISTAMINE EYE DROPS
Anti-histamine eye drops that may be used on a trial basis, with a set time given to the patient to contact the optometrist if not better.
On conjunctivitis and referral to ophthalmologist if necessary
On refractive error and ascertaining the need for the patient to come in and see you.
IN-PERSON CONSULTATIONS REQUIRED
For example squinting of the eye/s and can’t see far away, then the patient needs to come in for a refraction. Previously known morbidities, chronic eye related diseases like glaucoma. In cases like these patients have to come in for a comprehensive eye examination.
The above information serves only as a general guide to iTELEHEALTH.
This communication is in no way designed to instruct or to advise the optometrist how to consult in any manner whatsoever or conduct their professional practice and/or patient relationship.
This communication is in no way designed to instruct or to advise the optometrist to form part of iTELEHEALTH or participate in iTELEHEALTH. The information contained herein is freely available online on several optometry websites. The optometrist is encouraged to conduct his or her own research on the subject of iTELEHEALTH.