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Virtual glaucoma clinics: patient acceptance and quality of patient education compared to standard clinics

Authors Court JH, Austin M

Received 26 September 2014

Accepted for publication 29 December 2014

Published 24 April 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 745—749

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S75000

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Jennifer H Court,1 Michael W Austin1,2

1Department of Ophthalmology, Singleton Hospital, Swansea, Wales, UK; 2Department of Ophthalmology, Neath Port Talbot Hospital, Swansea, Wales, UK

Purpose: Virtual glaucoma clinics allow rapid, reliable patient assessment but the service should be acceptable to patients and concordance with treatment needs to be maintained with adequate patient education. This study compares experiences and understanding of patients reviewed via the virtual clinic versus the standard clinic by way of an extended patient satisfaction questionnaire (PSQ).
Patients and methods: One hundred PSQs were given to consecutive patients attending glaucoma clinics in October 2013. All 135 patients reviewed via the virtual clinic from April 2013 until August 2013 were sent postal PSQs in September 2013. Data were obtained for demographics, understanding of glaucoma, their condition, satisfaction with their experience, and quality of information. Responses were analyzed in conjunction with the clinical records.
Results: Eighty-five percent of clinic patients and 63% of virtual clinic patients responded to the PSQ. The mean satisfaction score was over 4.3/5 in all areas surveyed. Virtual clinic patients’ understanding of their condition was very good, with 95% correctly identifying their diagnosis as glaucoma, 83% as ocular hypertension and 78% as suspects. There was no evidence to support inferior knowledge or self-perceived understanding compared to standard clinic patients. Follow-up patients knew more about glaucoma than new patients. Over 95% of patients found our information leaflet useful. Forty percent of patients sought additional information but less than 20% used the internet for this.
Conclusion: A substantial proportion of glaucoma pathway patients may be seen by non-medical staff supervised by glaucoma specialists via virtual clinics. Patients are accepting of this format, reporting high levels of satisfaction and non-inferior knowledge to those seen in standard clinics.

Keywords: glaucoma, care-pathway, satisfaction, questionnaire, education, service-delivery

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