Telemedicine

Jeff Patrick Rutgard, M.D., is not only our very own Dr. Rutgard’s son, but he has also helped us to direct our new Telemedicine program. As of April 2015, we have launched a program to serve our doctors and their patients, even when we are not physically in their countries to teach and work.

The purpose of the Telemedicine Eye Program is to improve the caliber of eye care available for the poor and underserved. The concept of telemedicine is extremely important for those who live remotely in developing countries. Telemedicine communication will not only improve the quality of eye care for patients who live far from an eye care specialist, but will also be an excellent training program for the optometrist or ophthalmologist in developing countries. Examining doctors will have mentoring ophthalmology consultants available to advise them how to best treat eye pathology with which they are unfamiliar.

For this project to work, we will need volunteer ophthalmologists to join our cohort of mentoring doctors. Telemed mentors will periodically receive a question about an eye condition or a photo of a patient in Fiji (for starters). Our resident optometrist will email these to you and ask for your suggestions on how to treat the difficult case. This commitment requires quick responses so the optometrist can prescribe the proper medications and instructions to the patient. With a large group of consultants, someone should be available to respond within a timely fashion and he workload will be shared.

To be involved in the program, please email telemed@hawaiianeyefoundation.org.