In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Moorfields Eye Hospital, along with many other trusts increased their use of tele-medicine services, but there has been little evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of tele-consultations. Moorfields’ medical retina team investigated their service and found the medical retina hotline to be helpful and effective for urgent advice.
As part of Moorfields virtual services, the medical retina team set up a clinician-led hotline, where patients could share concerns about their condition without needing to come into hospital.
The study looked at 77 consecutive telephone queries to the medical retina hotline and found an absolute need for clinical examination in 28% of patients and no further action was required in 14% of cases. A total of two-third of the patients were called in for a face-to-face appointment for better diagnosis, treatment plan or intervention. Active surveillance was continued for those not seen, and they remained stable until their next appointment.
Overall the service was able to provide valuable urgent advice and prevented a significant number of patients having to travel in to Moorfields.
Aditi Agarwal, medical retina clinical research fellow at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said:
“Our study reveals some interesting results in a subspecialty that relies so heavily on imaging. We believe that the hotline service, along with a pathway for diagnostic or monitoring facilities, has multiple benefits such as fewer hospital visits, better compliance with social distancing and timely treatment for patients needing urgent care despite the pressures induced by the pandemic.”
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