The IAPB Technology for Eye Health Guide has 3 core sections:
- Technology readiness,
- Enabling factors for eye health
- The Access framework
1.What type of technology does your organization develop?
Optomed is a Finnish medical technology company and one of the leading providers of handheld fundus cameras and screening software globally. By integrating our software and artificial intelligence solutions with our cameras, we enable eye screening for everyone –wherever they are.
2. What stage of development on the Technology Readiness Scale is this technology at?
3. How does your technology address the enabling factors for eye health identified in the IAPB eye health technology guide?
Our product offering (cameras, software, and AI service) address all enabling factors identified by IAPB eye health technology guide. Here are a few words on each of the enabling factors:
- Availability: Optomed’s handheld cameras are proven to have the same image quality as typical desktop cameras have. So, our devices can be used to detect different retinal pathologies/alterations enabling diagnosis. Our Optomed Aurora can be connected to AI-service, which enables connection between a camera and cloud-based AI algorithms. The algorithms are provided by Optomed’s collaborators, who are well-established and widely known AI-algorithm providers.
- Quality: Optomed’s fundus cameras are manufactured according to the relevant international standards, and our products are approved as medical devices to be used to capture images of human fundus in almost every corner of the world. Thus, the regulatory approvals guarantee the quality of our camera products. Our AI-service is based on well-established algorithms that are also approved by several regulatory bodies. We ensure that our own products and the services we offer meet the highest quality standards.
- Integration: Optomed’s software product portfolio helps to connect the camera operator with e.g., clinical expert located in a different location. The connection can be very simple (camera-cloud or camera-laptop-web browser) or it can be part of Optomed’s screening workflow management system, Avenue Screen. Avenue Screen can be installed on a local server, or it can be cloud-based.
- Accessibility: Our handheld cameras can be taken anywhere. The mobility combined with a very good image quality make the retinal eye examinations truly accessible anywhere. When cameras are combined with our telemedicine or other connectivity software and even AI service, we enable setup that are in reach of anyone.
- Awareness: Optomed’s Avenue Screen software, the screening workflow management system, contains tools to increase awareness. As an example, the software can automatically schedule screening visits to people and send reminders about the upcoming visit. On the other hand, Avenue Screen provides tools for the screening program owner so that the program owner can track the attendance, e.g., in different screening sites. This type of data is essential to ensure that the screening reaches the target population, and the program outcomes are meaningful clinically and financially.
- People-centeredness: Optomed has been developing handheld fundus cameras for nearly 20 years now. We pay special attention to the usability of our devices. Namely, making medical camera products with good image quality is not enough. The devices must be so easy to use that anyone learns to take good images with reasonable amount of training. That is the only possibility to ensure that our devices are well-accepted by the users, and they are used outside specialized eye clinics too. By equipping the cameras with connectivity option, we further increase the usability even in more demanding locations.
4. Using the Technology for Access Framework key areas (listed below for convenience), can you provide an explanation on how do you address all or some of these factors to ensure its appropriate introduction into eye care services? If relevant, please give specific examples of where you have done so.
- Safety and Efficacy: Optomed’s products are approved as medical devices in numerous geographic market areas. Typically, the approvals are based on the regulation, which specifically focuses on efficacy and safety. So, the readiness of our technology is proven by numerous regulatory clearances in countries from every continent.
- Policy and regulation
- Human resources – We provide training materials via our website and organize hands-on trainings in-person and via web. In addition to that, our customers can always reach out to us directly or through our representatives. It is important for us that people are comfortable and pleased to use our devices.
- Continuum of care & referrals –Our Avenue Screen, the screening workflow management program, is developed together with screening providers. Avenue Screen can help to automate the workflow management process from the first screening until the person is diagnosed with a disease and forwarded to a referral pathway. The system can be connected to electronic health records and hospital information systems so that the data generated in screening can be seamlessly connected with a person’s other health data. The cybersecurity aspects are taken into consideration and developed continuously.
- Operating environment
- Local suitability– Our flagship product Optomed Aurora is a mobile device that is designed to reach anyone. In addition to that, the required maintenance is minimal and the device is robust when used according to instructions. Moreover, we are committed to provide training and support to all of our customers. Our software products are planned to connect people.
- Service accessibility– Accessibility is in the core of our mobile Optomed Aurora and Avenue software product family. Our mission is to help provide eye screenings to anyone anywhere.
- Economic sustainability- Our products are of high quality with good usability. It means that they are not the most inexpensive products that are available. However, we claim, and there is some data available, that e.g., our cameras are cost-efficient when compared with devices that cost less. So, good quality products with a long warranty time and several years of expected lifetime ensure that they are more cost-efficient and economically sustainable than similar devices that may have significantly lower price.
5. What plans do you have for future development and improvement of your eye health technology?
Optomed has very experienced R&D teams developing our hardware and software products. We are constantly working to improve our products and making them even more user-friendly.
6. How can IAPB members find out more about your technology?
The easiest way to learn more is to visit our website www.optomed.com. People are also welcome to reach us via email. The contact information can be found from our website and e.g., through IAPB’s Valued Supplier Scheme.
7. How do you see the IAPB eye health technology guide being useful for the eye health sector?
First, the content of the guide is very comprehensive and informative. It could be used by someone who is planning to set up eye health services. It could also be used as a notebook or checklist for more established eye health service providers.
In addition to being a guide, it should also be used as a tool when advocating for eye health. The guide is a proof or “business card” of the people who put it together. It shows that IAPB and other stakeholders have thought things through carefully. So, it shows that the eye health advocacy is in good hands, and things get done if resources are available.