Tele-Optometry And Artificial Intelligence

Chad Overman, OD give his insights on tele-optometry and the use of AI [artificial intelligence] in optometric practice.

Cara Moore: Hi everyone. Thanks for watching Optometry TV. I’m Cara Moore. I’m joined now by Dr. Chad Overman who is here to talk about telehealth in eye care.

Dr. Chad Overman: Thanks for having me.

Cara Moore: Yeah, thanks for being here. So first of all, how is telehealth addressing some of the major healthcare issues we’re seeing today?

Dr. Chad Overman: And so, I think there’s three main areas that I would talk about. It’s the quality of the exam, the affordability, and then one of the biggest is accessibility. There’s a very big need for patients, both rural and urban, to have that access. I talk to Doctors nowadays and they tell me they’ve got six, seven, eight weeks of a backlog of patients that’s not good for the practice and it’s not good for the patients.

Cara Moore: And there are a lot of options when we’re talking about telehealth. So can you explain sort of some of the different types that are available?

Dr. Chad Overman: Sure. When telehealth comes up, most people think of online refractions, that’s actually not the area that I like to work in. I’m talking a full digital comprehensive eye exam. So really what a patient could experience in your office, it’s now possible through technology to have that same comprehensive eye exam. So you’re right, there’s lots of things out there. There’s the online refractions, the new telehealth, that I’m really looking to and most of the new bills, we’re not looking at that because we don’t think that that’s as good for a patient. So refraction only is another one, but again, we’re trying to get to the full comprehensive eye exam.

Cara Moore: I’ve heard that some of your exams include the use of artificial intelligence, is that right?

Dr. Chad Overman: Yeah, that’s a really fun area.

Cara Moore: Yeah, so tell me how that works.

Dr. Chad Overman: Well, so we take our photos. So, we’re taking fundus photos, wide field photos on every patient. And then we run that through an artificial intelligence. Now, I don’t expect Doctors to miss, you know, large bleeds or something like that on their diabetic patients, but this will actually circle micro aneurysms for a Doctor, so that we make sure we don’t miss anything. It’s just, it’s a very helpful way to make sure that the patient’s best taken care of. And that wide field really gives us a good view.

Cara Moore: How can telehealth benefit, not only Doctors, but also their practices in general?

Dr. Chad Overman: Yeah, so we’re finding most of the Doctors want to use telehealth as a satellite, so they’ll open up a satellite clinic and that’s one of the bigger ones. So they, have maybe two or three locations and another, that’s a great way to do it. The other is really the Doctors don’t want to be at their practice every minute. So nights, weekends, you know, they like to take vacations too. So, that’s where telehealth can come in and be there. So the tagline that we like to use, is the Doctor is always in, so you don’t have to turn away a patient and then others just are so busy, like I was saying before with that backlog that they’ll put it in a second exam lane or a third exam lane so that they can run those through there. And then anything medical, they’ll just refer to their own practice. So it’s a really good way to increase the accessibility for patients that otherwise might leave your practice or might go without an exam.

Cara Moore: So practitioners should really be thinking about ways to incorporate telehealth?

Dr. Chad Overman: Yeah, I think, it’s very exciting where it’s going right now. We hear, you know, it’s on the front of everybody’s mind as they’re talking about it. So I think they really need to start looking, tele-optometry is here and those that, you know, don’t want to talk about it, that’s their choice. But I think it’s, it’s so exciting and it’s so good for our patients. And then again, I like to talk about how it’s good for practice as well.

Cara Moore: All right. Very good. Thanks so much for being here, Dr. Overman. We appreciate your time.

Dr. Chad Overman: Thanks for having me, appreciate it.

Cara Moore: And thanks for watching Optometry TV.

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