Emergency eye care in rural Australia : role of Internet

Sajeesh Sajeesh Kumar, K. Yogesan, B. Hudson, Mei-Ling Tay-Kearney, Ian Constable

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

PurposeSignificant differences exist in the utilization of emergency eye care services in rural and urban Australia. Meanwhile, influence of internet-based technology in emergency eye care service utilization has not been established. This study aims to demonstrate, from a health provider perspective, an internet-based service's impact on emergency eye care in rural Australia.MethodsThe teleophthalmology service was initiated in the Carnarvon Regional Hospital (CRH) of the Gascoyne region in Western Australia. A digital, slit lamp and fundus camera were used for the service. Economic data was gathered from the Department of Health of Western Australia (DOHWA), the CRH and the Lions Eye Institute.ResultsDuring the study period (January–December, 2003) 118 persons took part in teleophthalmology consultations. Emergency cases constituted 3% of these consultations. Previous year, there were seven eye-related emergency evacuations (inter-hospital air transfers) from the Gascoyne region to City of Perth.ConclusionsAnalysis demonstrates implementation of internet-based health services has a marked impact on rural emergency eye care delivery. Internet is well suited to ophthalmology for the diagnosis and management of acute conditions in remote areas. Integration of such services to mainstream health care is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-3
JournalEye advance
Volume20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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