Author(s): Lelli GJ, Luo S, Liu Y, van Landingham SW. Telemedicine Use by Oculoplastic Surgeons During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Telemed J E Health. 2021 Sep 29. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2021.0307. [Epub ahead of print] PMID 34591712
Journal: Telemedicine Journal And E Health : The Official Journal Of The American Telemedicine Association, Sep 2021
Background: Telemedicine use expanded dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, including to surgical fields that had limited prior adoption of telehealth such as oculoplastic surgery. To assess telemedicine usage patterns, barriers to implementation, and satisfaction with telemedicine, we conducted a survey among members of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS). Methods: We performed a Web-based, anonymous survey of ASOPRS members from November to December 2020. Statistical analyses were performed by using Fisher’s exact and Chi-squared tests. Results: We received 196 unique survey responses from 963 invited participants (20.5% response rate). Among the 192 ASOPRS members who participated, the majority (79%) reported currently using telemedicine. Very few of those currently using telemedicine (14%) had used telemedicine before March 15, 2020 and a significant proportion (36%) were unsure or did not plan to use telemedicine post-pandemic. Telemedicine use was more common among participants with fewer years in practice (p < 0.01) and those who were university- versus self-employed (p < 0.01). The most common barriers to telemedicine use were technological issues, reimbursement concerns, and a perceived lack of patient acceptance. Nearly half of the surgeons reported being satisfied with telemedicine (48%), and the majority reported perceived patient satisfaction with telemedicine (74%). Discussion: Telemedicine adoption increased significantly among oculoplastic surgeons during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many current users reported that they were unsure or did not plan to use telemedicine post-pandemic. Conclusions: Further research is needed to design sustainable telemedicine programs to enhance patient access to oculoplastic specialty care in the long term.