Acceptability of telegenetics for families with genetic eye diseases.
journal contributionposted on 19.08.2021, 13:07 by Suzannah Bell, Urvi Karamchandani, Kirsten Malcolmson, Mariya Moosajee
Healthcare providers around the world have implemented remote routine consultations to minimise disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual clinics are particularly suitable for patients with genetic eye diseases as they rely on detailed histories with genetic counselling. During April-June 2019, the opinion of carers of children with inherited eye disorders attending the ocular genetics service at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (MEH) were canvassed. Sixty-five percent of families (n = 35/54) preferred to have investigations carried out locally rather than travel to MEH, with 64% opting for a virtual consultation to interpret the results. The most popular mode of remote contact was via telephone (14/31), with video call being least preferred (8/31). Hence, 54 families who had received a telephone consultation mid-pandemic (November 2020-January 2021) were contacted to re-evaluate the acceptability of telegenetics using the Clinical Genetics Satisfaction Indicator and Telemedicine Satisfaction Questionnaire. Overall, 50 carers participated (response rate 93%); 58% of participants found teleconsultations acceptable and 54% agreed they increased their access to care, but 67.5% preferred to be seen in person. Patient satisfaction was high with 90% strongly agreeing/agreeing they shared and received all necessary information. Ocular genetics is well-suited for remote service delivery, ideally alternated with face-to-face consultations.