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
Results from a recent study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, have shown that the Peek (Portable Eye Examination Kit) Acuity app is just as accurate as ETDRS and Snellen chart for testing visual acuity. This makes the app one of the few mobile health applications to be proven and validated in a clinical trial.
The app was tested on 233 Kenyan adults aged 55 and above. The results were found to be just as accurate and repeatable as the Snellen chart, while being comparable in accuracy to the ETDRS chart.
In developing countries where access to specialist clinics are limited, the Peek Acuity app enables healthcare and community workers to test visual acuity using an accurate and portable system in the patient’s home or in clinic. Lead author of the study and co-founder of the Peek Acuity app, Dr Andrew Bastawrous said, “we aimed to develop and validate a smartphone-based visual acuity test which would work in challenging circumstances, such as rural Africa, but also provide reliable enough results to use in routine clinical practice in well-established healthcare systems.“
The app features a “tumbling E”, where the letter E is displayed in 1 of 4 orientations. The patient points in the direction they perceive the arm of the letter E to be pointing. The use of the “tumbling E” allows eye tests to be performed on those unable to read letters used in the English language, and ensures acuity is resolution based rather than recognition based. The application also provides alternatives to finger counting, hand movements and light perception.
Peek Acuity app is currently compatible with Android and iOS devices.
By: Dr Joanne Teong
Link to study: JAMA Ophthalmology
The D-EYE Retinal Imaging System is an innovative device that converts a smartphone into a portable, easy-to-use, affordable, and effective fundus camera.
The D-EYE device is a smartphone-sized case that fits onto an Apple iOS or Android phone. The D-EYE fundoscope lens is positioned over the smartphone’s camera and LED light source, enabling the phone to capture high definition video and still images of the fundus of the eye. The D-EYE app installed on the smartphone allows the user to store and manage patient information.
The D-EYE Retinal Imaging System offers:
- Field of view up to 20 degrees
- Easy viewing of optic nerve head, even without dilating eye drops, for detecting glaucoma
- Diabetic retinopathy screening and grading
- Hypertensive retinopathy screening and grading
- Age-related macular degeneration screening
- Cataract diagnosis and grading
- Visual acuity testing for adults and children
- Ability to record multiple images or videos
- Optional private and secure cloud-based storage system
- No additional external power or lighting source required
The D-EYE Retinal Imaging System was invented by Dr Andrea Russo to improve accessibility to medical screenings for people in need. The convenience and portability of the device is especially valuable for examining bed-ridden patients, children and infants. According to Dr Russo, “The D-EYE retinal screening system can be used by a variety of health professionals ranging from ophthalmologists, neurologists, general practitioners, emergency physicians and pediatricians, to school nurses and others. The system offers a quick, accurate and inexpensive way to examine the human eye and identify a variety of health conditions.”
The D-EYE Retinal Imaging System is currently compatible with iPhone 5, 5S, and 6, or Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5.
By: Dr Joanne Teong
EyeXam is a vision screening app for iOS and Android devices that has recently been issued a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. According to representatives from EyeXam, this makes it the first and only patented method for accurate self-guided mobile vision screening tests.
“We are excited to receive our patent for EyeXam and believe patent protection is timed perfectly in light of the explosion in mHealth apps. The ‘medicalized smartphone’ is impacting every aspect of health care, and eye care cannot lag behind,” says Dr. Nikki Iravani, founder and CEO of EyeXam.
The tests including visual acuity, colour vision, astigmatism and amsler grid have proved popular with consumers with the app downloaded more than 1 million times from the iTunes App store and Google Play to date. The app also allows patients to find a qualified eye care provider in their local area, exchange messages with the practice, schedule appointments, and search for eye-related information and articles using EyeWiki.
EyeXam asserts that the primary purpose of the app is to enable consumers to learn about their vision, understand the importance of professional eye examinations and connect with eye care providers.
The app is currently free to download on iTunes and Google Play.
By: Dr Joanne Teong
Source and image: www.eyexam.com