As technology continues to evolve, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure that everyone, regardless of where they live, has access to it. In low- and middle-income countries, where access to healthcare is often limited, this is particularly important when it comes to eye health. That’s why the launch of the IAPB Eye Health Technology Guide for the successful use of technology for eye health in these countries is such a significant development. The Guide addresses a gap in understanding around eye health technology and the factors required for successful integration of technologies into health systems and eye clinics.
Guide launched in Malaysia
The IAPB Eye Health Technology Guide was launched alongside the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Congress (APAO), in February. The launch event was a wonderful opportunity for over 60 IAPB members to come together and hear from key speakers:
- Dr Nor Fariza Ngah, National Head of Ophthalmology Services in Malaysia who described the need for the guide
- Dr Daniel Ting, Associate Professor in Ophthalmology, Duke NUS Medical School who gave a fast paced presentation on the opportunities and challenges for AI & eye heath and
- Jude Stern, Head of Knowledge, IAPB who explained the Guide.
A big thanks to Amanda Davis, IAPB Western Pacific Region Chair, & Drew Keys, IAPB Western Pacific Manager, who hosted the event.
Dr Fariza Ngah commented “There is no doubt that technology plays a critical role in eye health now, and long into the future. That is why it is so wonderful to have a guide that helps introduce technology in an informed way, to best contribute to achieving eye health that is available, accessible, and affordable to all.”
Why the guide was developed
The guide has been developed by a team of experts in eye health and technology, and provides practical tools and advice on how to successfully introduce & sustain technology to improve eye health outcomes. One of the key benefits of using technology for eye health is that it can help to overcome some of the barriers to accessing healthcare that exist in these settings.
However, the effective use of technology for eye health requires more than just the availability of technology itself. It also requires a range of supporting factors, such as appropriate training for healthcare providers, infrastructure to support the use of technology, and policies that encourage its adoption. The guide provides guidance on all of these aspects, helping to ensure that technology is used in a way that maximizes its impact on eye health.
Who the guide is designed for
Designed primarily for providers of eye care services who are responsible for purchasing and implementing technology, it is also useful for policy makers, funders, innovators and manufacturers of emerging eye health technology.
Highlighting the potential role of this guide, Dr Shivang Dave from PlenOptika and Technology Taskforce Member stated “It is fantastic to see this guide released into the sector. Innovative technologies and health delivery models have a critical role in cost-effectively scaling up eye health programs to drive sustainable real-world impact. Use the IAPB Eye Health Technology Guide to develop high impact, high-quality initiatives.”
What the guide includes
The Guide comprises 3 main sections, which can be explored in digital format or downloaded from the IAPB Knowledge Hub.
Since the launch we have received an overwhelming response with over 390 views of the Guide from more than 50 countries.
Amanda Davis, one of the experts involved in the development of this guide said “Rapidly changing technology has created a new set of challenges in the eye care sector, but it also has unlocked solutions. The IAPB Eye Health Technology Guide presents a practical tool that has been developed to allow for each unique country aspect. It provides the user with a clear pathway to make guided, informed and appropriate choices in an environment that is often complex and fast moving.”
IAPB Technology Special Interest Group
With a high level of interest in Technology for Access across our members, we are pleased to introduce an Interest Group on Technology. This group aims to advance the use of technology in improving eye health, by promoting awareness of technology initiatives and sharing information and expertise.
Ultimately, the launch of this guide is an important step forward in the effort to improve eye health outcomes, in particular in low- and middle-income countries. By providing practical tools and guidance on the use of technology, it has the potential to support effective technology uptake and make a real difference in the lives of people who might otherwise struggle to access the eye care they need.
Access the IAPB Eye Health Technology Guide here.
Assistance provided by ChatGPT in editing this blog is acknowledged.