As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter life in every corner of the country, ophthalmologists have been forced to evaluate the needs of their patients, shift schedules and change the way they manage their practices.
COVID-19 also is altering how patients approach healthcare, and the impact of these changes could last long after the pandemic is over, according to a survey of 500 healthcare consumers in the United States by healthcare consultancy Sage Growth Partners and Black Book Market Research, published by Medical Economics, ® a sister publication of Ophthalmology Times.®
Concerns about the safety of healthcare settings is driving more interest in telemedicine, such as virtual visits and remote health monitoring. In fact, 59 percent of survey respondents said they are more likely to use telehealth services now than in the past, and 36 percent would switch their physician in order to have access to virtual care.
In March, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread, the American Academy of Ophthalmology issued a statement noting that all ophthalmologists should cease providing any treatment other than urgent or emergent care. AAO also offers a list of procedures deemed urgent or emergent. As a result, ophthalmologists nationwide are adapting the way they manage their practices, instituting changes to ensure patient and staff safety.