Patient satisfaction levels during teleophthalmology consultation in rural South India

Telemed J E Health. 2006 Oct;12(5):571-8. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2006.12.571.


The application of new technologies for analysis of retinal images, neural networks for automated retinopathy grading, and teleophthalmology have been shown to have great value in ophthalmology. India has only one ophthalmic surgeon for every 107,000 population. Given this situation, teleophthalmology can play a vital role in addressing to the eye care needs of the country. The objective of this study was to assess patient satisfaction levels and factors influencing it during teleophthalmology consultation in India. A patient satisfaction questionnaire was prepared to assess the prominent aspects of patient satisfaction, including teleophthalmology screening, confidence in the technology used to transfer the fundus images, comprehensiveness of information available to the doctor in the central hub, and graded the opinion regarding the teleophthalmology. A cross-sectional survey among patients who attended a teleophthalmology screening conducted across eight villages in rural Tamilnadu. Responses were then subjected to qualitative analysis and conclusions made. The number of respondents was 348. Of this, 56.4% were males. The mean age of was 50 +/- 17 years. Age ranged from 2 years to 83 years. 44.4% of the respondents were satisfied with teleophthalmology screening. (95% confidence interval [CI]: 38.58%-49.42%) No association was found between age, gender, education, and occupation, respectively, with satisfaction levels. We found that patients who asked questions during the screening were 2.18 times more likely to be satisfied with teleophthalmology than those who did not (odds ratio [OR] = 2.19, 95% CI 1.37-3.5). This study highlights sentiments of the rural subjects when they underwent teleophthalmology consultations. This study provides valuable insights about patient's preferences and satisfaction levels with this newer technology.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmology*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Remote Consultation*
  • Rural Population