Telehealth Roundtable: “The Patient is Ready to See You Now”

July 24, 2019

Telehealth has enormous potential to broaden and alter the delivery of eyecare—and those changes already have begun. This ROB roundtable discussion presents views from Howard Purcell, OD, and Gary Chu, OD, of New England College of Optometry on how the academic world is incorporating telehealth, and from Moshe Mendelson, OD, founder of Eyecare Live , a telehealth platform designed especially for eyecare.  The discussion centers on technology that enables the patient greater access and choice, and which challenges the doctor to provide services when and how the patient prefers it. The discussion is chaired by Roger Mummert, ROB Content Director.

NEW PLATFORMS, NEW OPPORTUNITIES. New telehealth platforms designed especially with HIPAA-secure communications that are easily incorporated into the patient’s EHR file. This enables a new level of dialogue between doctor and patient–and it challenges the doctor to provide services and online consults when “the patient is ready for the doctor,” not the other way around.

EARLY EXPOSURE TO TELEHEALTH. Programs at optometry schools are bringing telehealth into the classroom and clinic, allowing students to see first-hand what a telehealth communication between doctor and patient is like.

DOCTOR-TO-DOCTOR COMMUNICATION VEHICLE. Telehealth makes it easier for doctors to consult one another about patients, facilitating a team-based approach to care.

FURTHERING CONTINUITY OF CARE. The doctor can be reached via telehealth for consultation, rather than losing a patient to an urgent care center or emergency room. That patient benefits from having the same doctor triage, diagnose and then prescribe a treatment plan.

START SMALL. A low-vision patient could use telehealth to communicate with an optometrist who has prescribed an at-home device to aid their functioning. The doctor would be able to see the patient in their own environment, including the challenges they face in their day-to-day life.

SEE PATIENT ON THEIR TERMS. Patients now expect you to come to them, rather than the other way around. Telehealth gives you a way to accommodate the changing expectations of patients, putting patients at the center of care.


Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO, is president of New England College of Optometry. To contact him:

Gary Chu, OD, MPH, FAAO, is senior director of public health and community collaborations at New England College of Optometry. To contact him:

Moshe Mendelson, OD, founder of Eyecare Live can be reached: 

Roger Mummert is ROB Content Director. Contact:


To Top
Subscribe Today for Free...
And join more than 35,000 optometric colleagues who have made Review of Optometric Business their daily business advisor.