Change in Ophthalmic Clinicians' Attitudes Toward Telemedicine During the Coronavirus 2019 Pandemic.
Background: Ophthalmic clinicians report low confidence in telemedicine-based eye care delivery, but it may have changed given its rapid expansion during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Introduction: The purpose of this study was to determine clinician confidence in telemedicine-based eye care services during COVID-19. Materials and Methods: An electronic survey was sent to clinicians at University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center (April 17, 2020-May 6, 2020) when nonemergent in-person visits and procedures were restricted. The primary outcome was clinician confidence in using telemedicine-based eye care during COVID-19. Secondary outcomes included telemedicine utilization and its association with clinician confidence using Fisher's exact test. Results: Of the 88 respondents (90.7% response rate; n = 97 total), 83.0% (n = 73) were ophthalmologists and 17.0% (n = 15) were optometrists. Telemedicine utilization increased from 30.7% (n = 27) before the pandemic to 86.2% (n = 75) after the pandemic. Clinicians' confidence in their ability to use telemedicine varied with 28.6% (24/84) feeling confident/extremely confident, 38.1% (32/84) somewhat confident, and 33.3% (28/84) not-at-all confident. Most felt that telemedicine was underutilized (62.1%; 54/87) and planned continued use over the next year (59.8%; 52/87). Confident respondents were more likely to have performed three or more telemedicine visits (p = 0.003), to believe telemedicine was underutilized (p < 0.001), and to anticipate continued use of telemedicine (p = 0.009). Discussion: The majority of clinicians were at least somewhat confident about using telemedicine during the pandemic. Clinician confidence was associated with telemedicine visit volume and intention to continue using telemedicine. Conclusions: Policies that foster clinician confidence will be important to sustain telemedicine-based eye care delivery.
De Lott, LB; Newman-Casey, PA; Lee, PP; Ballouz, D; Azzouz, L; Cho, J; Valicevic, AN; Woodward, MA
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