NEW YORK—With interest in telehealth on the rise across eyecare, several ECP alliances and buying groups have taken steps to help their independent OD members gain access to telehealth technologies and/or training resources. Among the groups providing such services to members are Healthy Eyes Advantage (HEA), Professional Eye Care Associates of America (PECAA), ABB Optical Group and the California Optometric Association (COA), among others.

HEA, which is based in Boca Raton, Fla., began looking at ways to help members take a closer look at telehealth options in early 2019. Eventually, HEA set up a partnership with EyeCare Live as its strategic telehealth partner, according to Justin Manning, OD, MPH, FAAO, HEA’s executive vice president, professional strategies. “We were able to put together a partnership that worked out right before COVID started,” he added.

The program with EyeCare Live includes a discount on both monthly and set-up fees, among other things. And HEA members receive access to the vendor’s webinars and other training tools. “We’ve had a number of members sign up to leverage EyecareLive in their practices,” he added.

Portland, Ore.-based PECAA also recently agreed to a partnership with EyecareLive. EyecareLive has set up a system that provides HIPAA compliant secure messaging, real time video visits and remote monitoring, a spokeswoman noted.

In addition, PECAA’s Billing & Coding Advisors have been providing resources to the membership regarding telehealth financial processes, including both billing and service codes, and the training related to how telehealth affects HIPAA.

ABB Optical Group, a provider of optical products, services and business solutions, also has collaborated with EyecareLive to provide a telemedicine platform to ECPs. The group “continues to encourage and advocate that ECPs embrace technology and expand access to patient care,” a spokeswoman noted.

ABB and EyecareLive have come together to bring EyecareLive’s doctor-owned, HIPAA compliant, optical focused platform to practices across the country. By helping ECPs implement telemedicine quickly and effectively, ABB noted that it gives doctors “the ability to extend care beyond the four walls of their practice, provide patients with greater access to their trusted provider, maximize practice efficiency and generate incremental revenue.”

In May, the California Optometric Association (COA) named EyecareLive its preferred partner for telehealth services. Members now have access to provide telehealth services via the EyecareLive platform at absolutely no cost for the first month, with significantly reduced fees for ongoing use.

COA said that participating members would gain access to EyecareLive’s secure video calling, and optometry-specific patient services such as visual acuity and dry eye tests, a contact lens comfort quiz and Amsler grid test for patients to perform at home.