Member Spotlight: Wake Family Eye Care
Providing Remote Care to Patients
It’s been said that every action in the present prepares us for the future. When the coronavirus pandemic first reached the United States, Dr. Amjad Badwan at Wake Family Eye Care in Cary, N.C., was ready. He had already spent several months researching different telehealth platforms and was ready to hit the ground running in late March.
“We try to be forward-thinking and were already figuring out ways to make telehealth fit into our normal daily routine,” Dr. Badwan explains. “And then the pandemic happened.”
Dr. Badwan and his team of two other doctors, Dr. Jennifer Shenk and Dr. Keller Hopkins, decided to use EyeCareLive because it was the most robust and simplest way for doctors to provide remote care.
“It’s easy for the doctors. It’s easy for the staff,” he says. “It’s pretty simple and intuitive if you’re using EHRs already. We all know that staff training takes a lot of time and effort, so ease is important, especially with reduced staff hours.”
Staff training consisted of a 45-minute session with an EyeCareLive representative and a separate internal meeting with four staff members—the front desk receptionist, office manager, and two technicians—to discuss how his team would implement the service.
The setup at Wake Family Eye Care is simple. “Whenever I have to take calls for telehealth, I just get on the laptop set up for remote calls with a camera facing me and do everything I need to,” Dr. Badwan explains.
Patients use a smartphone app on their end. “So, the quality of images and video is excellent,” Dr. Badwan says. “If they’ve got a good cell phone, which is the majority of the population, you’re getting high resolution from their phone camera.”
Positive Patient Response
Patients have “loved it,” Dr. Badwan says. “They liked the convenience, especially when everybody was really afraid to leave the house.” He says the tool has been useful especially to screen patients and determine if they need to come into the office.
“We’ll have a quick conversation with them and look at their eyes,” Dr. Badwan says. “Maybe it’s a condition that requires an in-person visit, or we’ll just go through a normal exam.”
Because the platform allows patients to send photos, Dr. Badwan and the other doctors can see a patient’s eyes before they arrive at the office so they’re better prepared for the visit.
The tool can also be used for contact lens follow-up visits, Dr. Badwan explains. “I’ll have them pull the phone close to their eyes, move their eye around, look at the lens, see how it’s sitting. The tool also supports visual acuity tests, so I can see if their vision is what it should be.”
“So that’ll save us a lot of time,” he says. “We can do this over the phone in five minutes.”
Consistency Is Key
His advice to other doctors who are implementing their own telehealth platforms is to avoid treating virtual visits any differently from regular in-house visits.
“The way you test patients, the way you ask the questions, the way you set up appointments and bill patients, keep it consistent,” Dr. Badwan advises. “So you, your staff, and your patients are not confused about how virtual visits are conducted and why they are being billed.”
“That way, it’s very intuitive and streamlined,” Dr. Badwan says. “It’s not reinventing the wheel; it’s just adding an extra option.”