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How I have been using telemedicine amid COVID-19


Hi, my name is Dr. Melanie Denton Dombrowski. I own my own practice. It is called Salisbury Eyecare and  Eyewear and I'm a cold start practice.

I started my practice 4 years ago and so, when COVID happened and our office was shut down for routine care, I jumped into telemedicine with both feet.

More by Dr. Denton: Why I wear scrubs in the office during COVID-19

We were able to start seeing telemedicine patients within 1 day of the initial American Optometric Association (AOA) webinar. In order to do so, my team has been instrumental. They have researched every insurance carrier. They even have a binder for me that explains all about telemedicine, how to find our patients’ benefits, and runs me through the process of how to code. It's incredible. But I wanted to talk to you about a couple of the patients I have seen via telemedicine just because I think it's interesting and fun.

Treating Allergy

Ok, so a few of my patients have been allergy patients, which I think a lot of us are seeing, and those are super easy to diagnose. Another patient was a red eye patient who actually had been exposed to someone COVID positive. So that was very interesting. Hers turned out to be actually just a run-of-the-mill viral conjunctivitis.

She did not end up developing COVID. Wonderful to be able to talk to her. I know I had her go through and feel for a preauricular node. I had her get really close to the camera and show me where the redness was.

To watch the associated video of Dr. Denton, click here

Treating iritis

Probably the most interesting patient I have seen first via telemedicine and then personally in my office was a patient who ended up having iritis. This patient had presented at a different clinic in the community-a free clinic-and had been treated for bacterial conjunctivitis for about 3 weeks.

When his red eye wasn't resolving, the medical director of that clinic reached out to me to see if I could take a look virtually or even in person. When I start talking to the patient and even observing his eye, listening to what his symptoms were, he just really sounded like he had iritis.

More by Dr. Denton: Video: Why I wear scrubs in the office during COVID-19

Ultimately, I had that patient come in and sure enough, his anterior chamber was just full of inflammation. I was able to get him on steroids; I was able to get him on a cycloplegic. And that patient is doing really well.

So, these are the patients I have seen via telemedicine, and it has been a wonderful tool for me. I don't think that it is all inclusive. Obviously, I think there are so many patients we still have to see in the office. But when it is used properly, you can reduce exposure for patients and for yourself. It can really help triage who needs to come in to the office and who doesn't. And it's been a great experience for me, so far, using it.

If you have questions about implementing telemedicine, I am very passionate about it. I'm happy to talk with you about it down below. Make sure to leave me a comment, and we'll continue the conversation.

To watch the associated video of Dr. Denton, click here

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