“You never want a pandemic to hit, but it’s given us an opportunity to think very differently,” Ike K. Ahmed, MD, FRCSC said.
Technologies that will thrive in the “new world” will involve patients and convenience, adaptability and flexibility, and will further cement “the connection between our referring network and ourselves,” he said.
Because of regulations and bureaucracy, health care has been slow with innovation. COVID-19 has given the health care industry the license to move beyond these hurdles and embrace new ways of providing patient care. The system is now being built around the patient rather than the provider, he said.
Innovations such as online appointment check-in and virtual meetings with patients will likely continue, reducing staff time, telephone calls and costs to a practice, Ahmed said.
At-home diagnostics, such as online visual field testing, home-based OCT and self-tonometry testing are more convenient for patients and reduce risk for virus exposure. These can also provide valuable diagnostic information and help triage the urgency of patient requests and follow-up, he said.
“The day is coming where we can use smart phones and video games to diagnose glaucoma, cataract, ocular surface issues and neuro-ophthalmological issues. Using new visual metrics to do this is the future of looking at eye care and diagnostics,” Ahmed said.
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