A team from Melbourne’s Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) has won this year’s Google Impact Challenge.
Medical doctor and PhD candidate Dr William Yan successfully pitched the team’s project, which uses a software algorithm to perform accurate, evidence-based visual acuity testing via webcam and Internet connection.
VisionAtHome’s aim is to help rural, remote and mobility-impaired users access and perform eye testing at home, particularly in areas with limited or no access to ophthalmologists. As Dr Yan explains, “94% of blindness or vision loss in Indigenous Australians is preventable or treatable. Less than 1% of eye specialists work in remote Australia, but almost all these areas have access to the Internet. Time is not on our side to bring changes in infrastructure to remote Australia, given its vastness, so telemedicine is a means of bridging the gap sooner.”
Dr William Yan, Project Lead of VisionAtHome. Photo: Centre for Eye Research Australia
CERA Principal investigator and Professor of Ophthalmic Epidemiology at the University of Melbourne, Professor Mingguang He was delighted with the outcome, describing VisionAtHome as a “simple hand-held solution for those who live far away from eye specialists. (It) has the potential to help millions of people not only in Australia but worldwide.“ This can expand to global areas of need beyond Australian communities, including the elderly, children, the physically disabled, and resource-poor settings in developing countries. In future, VisionAtHome aims to include Ishihara and visual field testing.
The Google Impact Challenge helps non-profits that use technology to solve social problems. The prize from Google will help CERA’s team translate their software to smartphone and mobile device applications, and undertake further research including clinical trials. For more information please visit cera.org.au.
By: Louise Teo
The American Diabetes Association has announced a new competition for app developers proposing cognitive computing solutions for diabetes. Clinical and research data from the ADA’s vast repository will be made available via IBM Watson Health.
Announced at the ADA’s 76th Scientific Sessions in June, app developers will have the chance to reimagine how diabetes is managed through Watson’s data analysis. Watson will enable healthcare providers, researchers, institutions and patients to all benefit from more streamlined and efficient data analysis. Data is deidentified and shared via Watson’s cloud system, enabling secure and timely access for app developers across all facets of healthcare to explore app-based solutions for diabetes prevention, treatment and management.
“Patients, caregivers and healthcare providers need access to cognitive tools that can help them translate that big data into action, and Watson can offer access to timely, personalized insights,” said Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP, and IBM Watson Health’s chief health officer. As 29 million Americans have diabetes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 415 million adults worldwide, the opportunities from this partnership will help accelerate the fight against this chronic disease.
ADA SVP of medical innovation Jane Chiang, MD and IBM Watson Health chief health officer Kyu Rhee, MD at the ADA’s 76th Scientific Sessions. (Photo Credit: A.J. Sisco/Feature Photo for IBM via IBM’s website)
For competition details, head to http://watsonhealth.ibm.com/challengediabetes.
By: Louise Teo
Australian startup CancerAid will launch in Asia with the Hong Kong Integrated Oncology Centre.
The biggest problem cancer patients and their families face is digesting the bewildering amount of information they are given throughout their journey.
CancerAid app. Photo courtesy of Dr Nikhil Pooviah, Founder of CancerAid
CancerAid aims to solve this problem by providing a secure communication and information portal for the millions of people affected by cancer worldwide.
CancerAid was founded in Sydney in 2014 by radiation oncology doctor, Nikhil Pooviah. Its mobile app features, such as the Journey Organiser and Treatment Plan, will help patients keep track of appointments and record information they can then share with their loved ones and treating team. The app can be personalised to each patient’s individual cancer subtype and treatment program. Patients will also be able to access help from Allied Health members, and be able to communicate with cancer specialists who are registered with the program.
CancerAid will launch in Australia later in 2016.
By: Dr Louise Teo