Anticipating the Rapidly-Advancing Wave of Ocular Telehealth

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Disruptions. They are facilitated by technology and by inventors taking a fresh look at new business models and professional concepts. They are often shaped by consumers’ dramatically shifting interests and frustrations with the status quo. They are embraced by insiders who sense new potential.

However, disruptions are often unwelcomed by legacy stakeholders.

And these are the issues that are being brought to the forefront throughout the professional and business arenas by the new frontier of ocular telemedicine, also referred to as ocular telehealth.

As Andrew Karp, our group editor of lenses and technology so keenly and specifically lays out in this month’s MEGATREND feature on the topic, ocular telemedicine or ocular telehealth currently “create a dynamic but fragmented market in which different business models and service offerings compete for consumer dollars and buy-in from eyecare professionals.”

We encourage you to review this special report. You will learn some things, you may raise your eyebrow on others but it will be hard to declare that ocular telehealth is not already impacting the vision care space.

Certainly as insurers grapple with reimbursement while clinical concerns are addressed, the visibility for vision and other forms of telehealth in the general health and wellness space will continue to escalate.

One of the compelling speakers at our Global Leadership Summit, health economist Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, zoomed in on patients becoming consumers. She observed, “Three big things have really shaped this. The recession of 2008, when retirement plans got hit hard and consumers became much more do-it-yourself oriented. The second is the advent of the smartphone, which means people of all ages are carrying around a little computer with them all the time, where they, of course, can shop and check the prices of a prescription, and/or access health information before they go to the pharmacy.”

The third, she described, is “the Amazon-Prime-ing of the consumer, particularly the health consumer.”

Expectations have changed. Expect ocular telehealth to move quickly.

maxelrad@jobson.com