06.23.20

Survey: Use of Virtual Education Soars; Telemedicine Remains a Small Percentage of Volume

Source: Eyewire News

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of ophthalmologists and optometrists are ‘very likely’ to participate in virtual education programs, while the percentage of those using telemedicine remains low compared to traditional care.

That according to a recent survey conducted by Bryn Mawr Communications (BMC). The survey, which had 229 respondents, was conducted via email and social media in June. The results show that many ophthalmologists and optometrists have already participated in several educational programs, with the ‘6-15’ range being the most popular number of programs attended, followed closely by ‘15+.’  Not surprisingly, the large majority of ophthalmologists (63%) and optometrists (73%) said they plan to participate in virtual education and/or mentoring programs moving forward.

The survey also found that some ophthalmologists (31%) are allowing company reps into their practices, albeit on a case-by-case basis. Similarly, 31% of MDs are permitting patients’ family members into their practice, although most respondents (57%) said it depends on the circumstances.

While social distancing measures implemented during the pandemic, combined with new Medicare incentives, have increased the amount of telehealth and telemedicine being practiced across all specialties, ophthalmologists are still hesitant to practice telemedicine on a large scale basis, with 47% reporting the telemedicine volume at ‘25% or less,’ and 33% reporting no use of telemedicine.

The most popular responses for ophthalmologists and optometrists were the same in each category. The full results are below:

MD Survey Findings:

(169 responses) 

  • Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately how many virtual educational programs have you participated in?
    • 0:               7 (4.14%)
    • 1 to 5:      37 (21.89%)
    • 6 to 15:    66 (39.05%)
    • 15+:         59 (34.91%)
  • Moving forward, how likely are you to participate in virtual education and/or mentoring programs?
    • Very Likely:               114 (67.46%) 
    • Somewhat Likely:       51 (30.18%)
    • Not Likely:                    4 (2.37%)
  • Are you currently allowing company reps into your practice?
    • Yes:                                                    52 (30.95%)
    • Only on a case-by-case basis:       52 (30.95%)
    • No but expect to soon:                   38 (22.62%) 
    • No:                                                     26 (15.48%)
  • What volume of patients are you seeing via telemedicine?
    • More than 50%:                           16 (9.47%)
    • Between 25% and 50%:              17 (10.06%)
    • Less than 25%:                             80 (47.34%)
    • None:                                             56 (33.14%)
  • Are you allowing patients’ family members into your practice?
    • Yes:                     53 (31.36%)
    • It depends:        97 (57.40%)
    • No:                      19 (11.24%)

OD Survey Findings: 

(60 responses)

  • Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately how many virtual educational programs have you participated in?
    • 0:               5 (8.33%)
    • 1 to 5:      17 (28.33%)
    • 6 to 15:    20 (33.33%)
    • 15+:         18 (30%)
  • Moving forward, how likely are you to participate in virtual education and/or mentoring programs?
    • Very Likely:               44 (73.33%) 
    • Somewhat Likely:     14 (23.33%)
    • Not Likely:                  2 (3.33%)
  • Are you currently allowing company reps into your practice?
    • Yes:                                                12 (20%)
    • Only on a case-by-case basis:        15 (25%)
    • No but expect to soon:                   18 (30%)
    • No:                                                 15 (25%)
  • What volume of patients are you seeing via telemedicine?
    • More than 50%:                           3 (5%)
    • Between 25% and 50%:              4 (6.67%)
    • Less than 25%:                          24 (40%)
    • None:                                         29 (48.33%)
  • Are you allowing patients’ family members into your practice?
    • Yes:                    10 (16.67%)
    • It depends:         42  (70%)
    • No:                       8 (13.33%)

 

 

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