PURPOSE: Ophthalmologic telemedicine programs help to address the growing demand for eye care and lessen healthcare disparities for patients. One example is Technology-Based Eye Care Services (TECS), implemented in the Veteran Affairs Healthcare System in 2015. Accuracy and quality data for TECS both have been reported, and data suggest that although the TECS examination is comparable with an in-person examination, sensitivity for glaucoma and glaucoma suspect detection is less than that for other diseases, such as macular degeneration. Several articles suggest that OCT can improve disease detection for glaucoma. Therefore, this study was undertaken to test the impact of OCT on the accuracy of the TECS protocol. This article reports the data from part II of the TECS Compare trial; results from part I are discussed in a previous article. DESIGN: Prospective comparison between the TECS protocol with OCT versus a face-to-face (FTF) examination for 256 patients. PARTICIPANTS: An eligible patient was defined as a patient with no known ocular disease who desired a routine eye examination. METHODS: Patient underwent the TECS protocol workup and OCT nerve, OCT macula, and FTF examination on the same day. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Percent agreement, κ values, sensitivity, and specificity were calculated for nonexpert readers after OCT interpretation of the TECS protocol using the FTF examination as the clinical gold standard. RESULTS: OCT did not improve the diagnostic accuracy of the TECS protocol when compared with an FTF examination. In most cases, OCT had no impact, and in the case of reader 2, OCT actually reduced the κ value from moderate agreement to agreement equal to chance while lowering the percent agreement by 10%. OCT also did not impact inter- or intrareader variability parameters. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, OCT did not seem to improve the accuracy of glaucoma or retinal disease detection when added to the standard TECS protocol. In one case, OCT worsened the agreement of the reader compared with the FTF. Further study is necessary to confirm these findings, and results may change if the readers are glaucoma or retina specialists instead of nonexpert OCT readers, comprehensive and anterior segment specialists.
Technology-Based Eye Care Services Section, Regional Telehealth Services, VISN 7, Atlanta Veteran Affairs Health Care System, Atlanta, Georgia; Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.Full article