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Telehealth: How 2020 On-site is Making Vision Care and Clinical Research More Accessible

By 20/20 Onsite
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2020 On-site optometrists Dr. David Gibson, O.D. and Dr. Debi Sarma, O.D. recently achieved a milestone using telemedicine that will revolutionize the way 2020 On-site is able to deliver vision care and continue to bring clinical research to patients across the country.

As part of a pre-screening initiative, Dr. Sarma and Dr. Gibson obtained Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to conduct their patient interaction virtually. First, the two doctors used virtual methods to interview the patient and to determine if he was qualified to participate — eliminating the need for the patient to be in-person for the initial questionnaire and evaluation visit. This was possible through the use of our mobile vision clinic that traveled directly to the patient. With expert clinical staff onboard and the doctors at home, the team used the technology to connect everyone who were in different states. 

Using the technology, Dr. Gibson and Dr. Sarma were able to observe the patient at his home after he received vision testing inside our mobile vision clinic and then successfully monitor his reactions and symptoms remotely. Just like their patient, they were both at their homes - in North Carolina and Massachusetts, respectively - reaping the benefits of telehealth technology. 

Utilizing 2020 On-site’s mobile vision clinic to deliver image testing to the clinical trial patient proved to be a more convenient solution than bringing the patient to a study site or delivering treatments or products by mail. For the sponsor, it reallocated the cost of travel to bring the patient to a trial site via plane or another means of transportation, as well as potential shipping costs if, alternatively, the treatment or product were to be mailed to the patient’s home. For the patient, their vision condition already makes travel burdensome for them and their loved ones. Being able to participate in the study but skipping the travel was very important for them. 

After working with patients, the team received encouraging feedback including:

  • "Without the MVC, [the patient] probably would have somehow tried to enroll in the study but it would have taken a lot longer to coordinate this initial visit because of their personal schedule. They expressed gratitude for the MVC service and our work onboard."
  • "The patient had previously looked into enrolling in clinical trials but it didn't work out. When asked why, the patient reported, "scheduling". The patient wanted to spend more time playing soccer with friends, than flying out of state for follow-ups."
  • "The patient was effusive about his gratitude for this trial existing, and his ability to partake. He was especially thankful that we were able to see them just across the street from his job. Transportation, even within a short distance, is difficult for this patient given that they can't drive. Being met where they were and reducing any additional travel or logistics coordination made them feel particularly well cared for."

In addition to correlating dollars spent to a more preferable patient experience, the use of telemedicine is more convenient for the patient and doctor alike. Virtual appointments save patients the time that they would have spent traveling to the study site, taking time off work, sitting in the waiting room, and then traveling back home. Both the patient and doctor get to participate in the trial while in the comfort of their own homes. 

Another reason why telemedicine is an excellent pre-screening option for decentralized clinical trials is that it reduces some of the burden placed on study sites. Mobile or virtual care settings offer another assessment collection option, therefore eliminating scheduling stresses and ensuring only patients who have met the pre-screening requirement move forward in the study. 

The mobile vision clinic experience is also a more individualized service. Our licensed clinical staff drives to a convenient location, such as the patient’s home or place of work, to deliver testing, and then our medical staff is able to connect with them and monitor them virtually. The patient is reassured that they are under careful watch by their physician and are able to ask questions directly to their doctor easily and comfortably. 

“Virtual exam capabilities open up so many doors for the future of clinical research,” Dr. Sarma says. “Not only does it create easier access to care, but it also allows us to give more focused one-on-one time for the patient. This is especially important for patients living with significant vision loss who are looking for consultative services without leaving the comfort of their familiar environment."

Telemedicine also has a positive impact on data collection in clinical trials. In a research report by Oracle Health Sciences, the company surveyed professionals involved in clinical trials at biopharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, and contract research organizations (CROs) around the world. When asked about the advantages of remote data collection, respondents cited patient convenience, more comprehensive real-time data and insight, and savings in terms of time and resources for site staff. 

For example, remote data collection is largely executed using digital tools like smartphones, patient apps, and wearable devices that provide around-the-clock data. This provides faster and more complete data collection because the clinical team can see everything that occurred in real-time instead of relying on information acquired during a few office visits.

The success of this treatment highlights the opportunities that 2020 On-site’s mobile vision clinic offers. Not only does the use of telemedicine work for clinical trials, but our optometrists have found success using these methods for routine eye care.

“Telemedicine probably has the biggest impact on Life Sciences right now,” says Dr. Gibson. “By having me and Dr. Sarma work remotely, we are able to see more patients with less cost to the sponsor. We also use telemedicine for routine optometry. It allows patients to renew prescriptions and discuss eye issues from the comfort and safety of their home.”

2020 On-site’s mobile vision clinic brings high-quality eye care to wherever is convenient for you, whether that’s your home, office, or even your residential building. However, with busy schedules and the continued presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth visits are increasing in popularity as a preferred method of receiving medical care. In fact, according to a recent SYKES’ study where they surveyed 2,000 Americans, 87.82% want to continue using telehealth services after COVID-19 has passed. 

If you’re interested in using 2020 On-site’s virtual services for your clinical trial or would like to schedule an eye exam, click here.


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