Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and based on recommendations from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, ophthalmologists nationwide limited ophthalmic care to urgent or emergent care from mid-March onward. As the country begins to re-open on a regional basis, in-office consultations and examinations are increasing.
All patients, physicians and staff wear face masks in the office. I have also instituted tele-medicine & parking lot evaluations which have already proven valuable for patients who are under quarantine.
Here’s a Quick Patient Guide to save time & optimize your tele-health visit.If you wish to have a tele-medicine visit, contact your ophthalmologist and provide the following information:
- Medical insurance. Traditional Medicare has started to cover tele-medicine visits due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you have a Medicare Advantage, commercial insurance or no insurance, inform the office staff. Depending on your insurance, a tele-medicine visit may include a co-pay, co-insurance, deductible or be considered a non-covered service. You may be asked to make a deposit prior to consultation.
- Pharmacy. Be sure to mention your current local pharmacy, pharmacy location, phone number and allergies! Many pharmacies are located at the border of towns and the exact address is helpful for EMR systems.
- Cell phone number. Please test your device, such as a smart phone (iPhone, Android), tablet (iPad) or desktop computer prior to your appointment. Video call a friend or family member for audio and video! You may want to use selfie mode on the device. In some instances, having a family member or friend available is most helpful to highlight eye structures during the consultation.
- Email address. This is critical for many electronic medical record (EMR) systems which utilize a patient portal. After your visit, you may receive an email with patient instructions.
- Video conferencing platform. Inform the office of your preferred communication platform and contact information. This includes either the cell phone number or email address associated with the platform. Your ophthalmologist may offer the following options:
- A text to your cell phone. The text will include a link to open a special Doximity video call.
- A telemedicine patient portal, such as Doxy.me.
- Other platforms including FaceTime, Google Hangout, Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, & Zoom.
- Visual Acuity & online measurements – The results from the free online tests will greatly help your ophthalmologist during your telehealth visit. All of Dr. Goel’s patients are asked to take a Pre-Test prior to consultation. Helpful platforms include:
- Visual Acuity charts (PDF with Visual acuity & Amsler Grid, courtesy University of Arizona). This is the simplest to use and the chart is easily calibrated with a US quarter! Can be used from a desktop, tablet, mobile phone or printed.
- Essilor Test Your Vision (Visual Acuity, Astigmatism, Light Sensitivity, Near Vision, Color Vision, Amsler Grid).
- Light source. A penlight, flashlight or good lighting area may be most helpful. A family member or friend can also use the smart phone (or a second device) with flashlight on.
- Appointment Time. The office will give you an appointment time. A technician or scribe may call you prior to your appointment time to review your chief complaint, symptoms, medical history, medication list, etc. This will likely be by a phone call. The ophthalmologist will then be able to call via video to review your history and perform a tele-health consultation.
- To schedule a consultation with Dr. Miano & Goel, contact Regional Eye Associates using the online form here or send a secure message via our patient portal.
- If you have a sudden loss of vision, trauma, chemical injury or other injury, you should call 911 and go to the nearest emergency room.
- The American Academy of Ophthalmology has an excellent coronavirus guide for eye patients here.