Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.
Issue link: http://digital.ophthalmologybusiness.org/i/138484
Technology in ophthalmology Diagnostic apps helpful to ophthalmologists, patients by Erin L. Boyle Senior Staff Writer T his issue's "Technology in ophthalmology" column touches on a topic that I am passionate about: mobile health applications. The evolution of healthcare and of digital mobile technology have come together in the rapidly growing field of mobile healthcare. The use of phones and mobile devices has advanced so much that there is now a great opportunity for mobile technology to improve the inefficiencies in healthcare delivery, as well as assist in the healthcare process— improving patient satisfaction, decreasing morbidity, and increasing our ability as healthcare providers to monitor our patients outside of the clinical or hospital setting. Mobile health is revolutionary because, by definition, it transforms the provider-patient relationship. While patients are able to use these growing technologies to further improve quality, efficiency, and access to their care, we as providers can simultaneously use these technologies to enhance our delivery of care to patients and optimize treatment results. There are several categories of mobile medical applications. The spectrum includes physician diagnostic apps, patient self-diagnostic apps, patient adherence apps, and patient education apps. The burgeoning field of mobile healthcare apps will positively revolutionize the field of healthcare, and specifically lend themselves to our field of ophthalmology. Those that are the most powerful and successful will be the ones that focus attention on clinical needs and ease of use. Richard M. Awdeh, MD, Technology in ophthalmology editor 18 Health mobile apps can assist in the diagnosis and maintenance of patient care F rom diagnostic mobile phone applications (apps) that measure basic body functions to specific apps for ophthalmology, new ways of accessing technology are offering opportunities for both physicians and patients. Diagnostic apps outside of ophthalmology include SpotCheck, a free dermatology app. For a small fee, it allows users to submit a photograph of their moles to board-certified, experienced dermatologists. According to information about the app, within 24 hours, users receive notification of whether their mole looks atypical or not. The app also allows users to find dermatologists nearby who can assist more directly. Another such app is PulseCheck, an inexpensive pulse-measuring app. It measures a person's pulse through the light on the phone's camera lens, which screens through the finger and measures the contrast of blood flow. The app then informs the user if his or her pulse is normal. Other similar apps—Heart Rate, Stress Check by Azumio—also measure heart rate. Physicians as well as patients have expanded ways of accessing diagnostic information, both in the office and at home. These apps offer a broader audience the ability to be Ophthalmology Business • July 2013 more involved in their diagnosis and care. Physician diagnostic app Diagnostic apps for ophthalmologists include Eye Chart Pro, which offers a variety of visual acuity charts that can track a patient's visual acuity. Physicians can use this app to measure visual acuity with Snellen, Landolt, HOTV, and Sloan letter charts, with lines randomized, an important aspect to the app, according to developer Manu Lakkur, Boston. "I designed Eye Chart Pro after my experiences as a chronic eye patient," he said. "I noticed that after a few trips to the eye doctor, I