Purpose: This study aimed to evaluate the ability of a freely accessible internet algorithm to correctly identify the need for emergency ophthalmologic consultation for correct diagnosis and management.
Method: This retrospective observational cohort study was based on the first 100 patients who requested recommendations on the necessity of breaking the lockdown for emergency ophthalmology consultation during the period from March to May 2020.Results: 91 patients completed questionnaires . 49 were directed to emergency consultation and 42 to differed scheduled visits or telemedicine visits . One patient sent for emergency consultation had an overestimated severity and could have been seen later, while two patients initially recommended for a scheduled visit were considered appropriate for emergency consultation . However, these patients ’ management did not suffer as a consequence of the delay . The sensitivity of the algorithm, defined as the number of emergency consultations suggested by the algorithm divided by the total number of emergency consultations deemed appropriate by the practitioner ’ s final evaluation, was 96.0% . The specificity of the algorithm, defined as the number of patients recommended for delayed consultation by the algorithm divided by the number of patients deemed clinically appropriate for this approach, was 97.5% . The positive predictive value, defined as the number of appropriate emergency consultations divided by the total number of emergency consultations suggested by the algorithm, was 97.9% . Finally, the negative predictive value, defined as the number of appropriately deferred patients divided by the number of deferred patients recommended by the algorithm, was 95.2% .Conclusion: This study demonstrates the reliability of an algorithm based on patients ’ past medical history and symptoms to classify patients and direct them to either emergency consultation or to a more appropriate deferred, scheduled appointment . This algorithm might allow reduction of walk-in visits by half and thus help control patient flow into ophthalmologic emergency departments.