Vision care access at community health centers

Is access to vision exams a challenge in your community? As an intern at a startup company working at Boston University, I am researching the potential for a telehealth solution to connect patients with licensed optometrists to increase access to eyeglass prescriptions. We need your help to understand exactly how our solution would fit in a clinic like yours, so I invite you to take this 10 minute survey.

The description of the solution we are studying is below, and the survey to get your opinions about the solution follows.

To say thanks for your input, the survey host Hopewell Partners will send you a Starbucks $50 gift card to treat you and your colleagues.

How the telehealth optometry service would work

1. Triage: About 3 minutes

In a checkup appointment, if a patient’s last vision exam is more than a year ago or unknown, the technician will use a handheld autorefractor to make a baseline visual acuity measurement. If the patient has eyeglasses, the technician will measure their eyeglass strength. Software will compare the results of the autorefraction exam and the patient’s eyeglasses to determine whether the patient needs an updated eyeglass prescription.

2. Vision exam and prescription: About 7 minutes

The patient is guided to a separate exam room* for the vision exam. After capturing relevant history, the patient is asked to wear a goggles-like headset, and the technician will connect via the telehealth software with a state licensed OD for the subjective examination. The remote OD will then issue the prescription. The patient examination data and prescription information will be saved to the clinic’s EHR.

*Many states allow for an onsite referral Medicaid exam to be billed on the same visit as long as the medical provider is different.

How patients can get eyeglasses

Depending on state regulations, the patient can then either order their glasses using this prescription from the appropriate state agency that provides low-cost glasses, or use their Medicaid benefits to buy glasses elsewhere.