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How telehealth is helping emergency eye care teams

DigiSight Technologies, a digital health company, has launched a telehealth solution that enables healthcare teams to collaborate and make informed decisions at the point-of-care at thirteen Banner Health facilities across Arizona.

Using Paxos, Banner Health has introduced a teleophthalmology program that allows emergency room doctors to capture the image of a serious eye injury or other vision disorder, and digitally transfer that image for review to EyeNet, a Phoenix-based group of ophthalmology experts, in real-time.

The Paxos technology uses a specialized adapter (FDA Class II registered) that takes pictures of the front of the eye and retina using a smartphone, and includes cloud and mobile-phone based HIPAA-compliant software to allow secure transmission of various vision and ocular tests.

Reducing wait time for patients with serious eye injuries

In emergency rooms around the country, patients with serious eye injuries or disorders generally wait hours to receive care from an ophthalmologist or, alternatively, are transferred by ambulance to another facility closer to where an ophthalmologist practices, which can be expensive.

“Sight is one of life’s precious gifts, and it can be seriously impaired or stolen from us due to trauma or disease,” said Pravin Dugel, MD, physician executive director at Banner–University Medical Center Phoenix Eye Institute and managing partner at Retinal Consultants of Arizona based in Phoenix. “Emergency rooms are very good at treating and stabilizing many serious health issues, but unfortunately they are not equipped with imaging equipment nor ophthalmology expertise to quickly assess sight-threatening conditions.”

The teleophthalmology program for emergency eye care continues Banner Health’s initiative to provide quality care while reducing costs via telehealth technologies that connect providers in efficient and collaborative workflows.

“This program will help us reduce the time it takes for our patients to have specialist eye care expertise in our emergency rooms,” said Deborah Dahl, patient care innovation vice president at Banner Health and recipient of the American Telemedicine Association Industry Leader Award in 2016. “Paxos is a cost-efficient and very mobile enterprise solution that enables us to capture and share the specific information needed for remote ophthalmic consultations.”

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