Study explores safety of virtual eye care service

New research finds that a Moorfields Eye Hospital virtual accident and emergency service is as safe as an in-person service

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Pexels/Anna Shvets
New research published in eClinicalMedicine has found that a virtual accident and emergency eye care service has a similar safety level to an in-person eye casualty service.

The research examined the case notes from 404 patients treated through Moorfields Eye Hospital’s video consultation service, which was introduced in response to the social distancing requirements of the pandemic.

These patient episodes were compared to the case notes of 451 patients who attended eye casualty in person.

Researchers found comparable safety levels between the two services, while 97% of patients seen through the video platform were satisfied with their care.

“The service is acceptable to patients and reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission. We propose that video consultations are effective and desirable as a tool for triage in ophthalmology,” the authors highlighted.

Dr Gordon Hay, A&E service director at Moorfields, said that due to the success of the virtual platform, it will be continued in the long-term.

“In many cases we have been able to divert patients directly into the most appropriate clinic or service, including services more local to them – avoiding over 10,000 return trips to London during the COVID-19 peak,” he said.

Data gathered through the research suggested that those using video consultations are younger, with a median age of 43, while more women used the platform than men (54%).