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NECO Eye Clinics Provide Essential Patient Care Through Telehealth

Specialty service and urgent eyecare visits have grown in demand.

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Anita Gulmiri, OD, FAAO, completes a contact lens visiting using NECO’s telehealth system.
Anita Gulmiri, OD, FAAO, completes a contact lens visiting using NECO’s telehealth system.

(PRESS RELEASE) New England College of Optometry (NECO) is one of the first optometry schools in the country to launch a telehealth program in the wake of COVID-19 closures. Since NECO launched its telehealth services early in the COVID-19 crisis, specialty service and urgent eyecare visits have grown in demand.

“We were determined to find new ways to address the urgent eyecare needs of our patients, while keeping everyone safe,” explains Tim Bossie, OD, FAAO, director of Owned Clinics & Outreach Services. “From the start our goal was to offer emergency care, along with specialty care services where consistency is key to maintaining progress. For patients requiring vision therapy – a type of physical therapy for the eyes and brain – we have been able to offer weekly therapy sessions from home. For individuals with low vision, our doctors provided visual acuity charts to each patient scheduled for a telehealth appointment.”

NECO has partnered with EyeCareLive, a telehealth system built specifically for eye care, to develop new ways to evaluate patients remotely in their own homes. NECO doctors use telephones, video conferencing and the EyeCareLive Platform to conduct urgent evaluations, vision therapy, low vision rehabilitation, and other essential consultations.

“The response from patients has been extremely positive and appreciative,” says Dr. Bossie who also introduced curbside pickup of eyeglasses, using social distancing. “They feel confident we haven’t just closed our clinic and forgotten about them. Some have even asked us to continue with telehealth services after we reopen. We believe telehealth is here to stay, will augment our traditional practices, and help us provide quality patient care, even for patients with unique circumstances.”

As an early adopter, Dr. Bossie and his colleagues at NECO have been called upon on to share learnings and insights with other eye care professionals and have developed a webinar series for on topics related to managing an eye care practice amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

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