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26 January, 2006 - 09:12 By Staff Reporter

World first for Digital Healthcare

A community eye screening programme using Cambridge technology to monitor the sight of 12,000 UK diabetes patients over a 12 month period has scored a world first in using secure messaging telemedicine to successfully transfer patient information between opticians, hospitals and a screening administration centre within the PCTs.A community eye screening programme using Cambridge technology to monitor the sight of 12,000 UK diabetes patients over a 12 month period has scored a world first in using secure messaging telemedicine to successfully transfer patient information between opticians, hospitals and a screening administration centre within the PCTs.

The diabetic retinopathy screening programme is using OptoMize iP®, an innovative software product combining digital images of the retina with an electronic patient administration system, to electronically transfer screening results between a network of different computers.

OptoMize iP was developed by Digital Healthcare, a Cambridge company that is the UK’s leading supplier of software for diabetic retinal screening programmes and ophthalmology.

The screening programme in Lancashire involves Preston and Chorley & South Ribble Primary Care Trusts, the Royal Preston Hospital and Chorley District Hospital as well as 17 optician practices across Preston, Chorley, Leyland and surrounding villages.

It is encouraging all diabetes patients over 12 years old to have a digital photographic screen of their eyes, which can detect the early signs of retinopathy, a disease of the retina that is the single largest cause of blindness in the UK.

Digital Healthcare’s OptoMize iP software has been installed on 48 computers in a variety of locations across Central Lancashire so that patients can choose to be screened by an accredited optometrist at their local optician or at an eye clinic in a hospital.

The results are transferred electronically between the computers on the same network.

It is estimated that there are 1.8 million diabetics in the UK and it is vital that their eyes are screened regularly for retinopathy, which can be treated effectively if it is caught at an early stage.

The deployment of advanced telemessaging means that images and results can be securely and promptly transferred so that healthcare staff have instant access to patient information as they need it, resulting in better preventative care for patients and speeding up urgent referrals for treatment.

Digital Healthcare was established as a spin-out from the University of Cambridge in 1994, and is a leading producer of advanced digital imaging software and electronic patient care management systems for the healthcare market.

It is the leading supplier of opthalmic and diabetic retinopathy screening solutions to the NHS with over 100 installations in hospitals and optician practices that are used to screen over 300,000 patients every year for diseases such as glaucoma, retinopathy, cataracts and advanced macular degeneration.

It also provides screening solutions to over 600 private practices, hospitals and universities in the US, with satellite usage in European countries, Australasia and the Far East. Worldwide, the company’s software solutions are used to screen over 500,000 patients annually.

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