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Telemedicine in oculoplastic and adnexal surgery: clinicians’ perspectives in the UK

Abstract

Background/Aims The COVID-19 has facilitated a paradigm shift in the sphere of ophthalmic telemedicine: its utility is no longer limited to providing care to remote regions, rather it is expeditiously being adopted as the new standard of care. The aim of our paper is to explore the current attitudes of oculoplastic surgeons towards telemedicine and its utility in the present landscape and its prospects in the future.

Methods A 39-item questionnaire was distributed to consultant oculoplastic surgeons practising across the UK and anonymised responses were collected and analysed.

Results The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed rapid implementation of telemedicine services in oculoplastic departments across the UK with 86.6% of the respondents incorporating telemedicine into the routine clinical practice. Clinicians reported a statistically significant increase in utility of telemedicine, confidence in using telemedicine and quality of infrastructure available to employ telemedicine following the COVID-19 outbreak. The greatest utility of telemedicine is in triaging, postoperative assessment and eyelid lesion assessment. Main barriers to implementation of telemedicine included difficulties in conducting clinical examinations, lack of administrative support and poor access to digital technologies for patients. Overall, most clinicians were satisfied with the impact of telemedicine services and almost all experts foresee themselves continuing to use telemedicine in the future.

Conclusions Telemedicine has become an integral part of the oculoplastic service delivery since the COVID-19 pandemic its use is likely to continue. Further development of digital infrastructure and improvement of clinical examination capabilities are required to enable its wider adoption.

  • eye lids
  • orbit
  • telemedicine
  • treatment surgery
  • COVID-19

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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