iPhone is 'Eye-phone' for surgeons in India
EE Times - November 20, 2009
BANGALORE — Apple's iPhone may well be nicknamed "Eye-Phone" among pediatric eye surgeons starting off on a global endeavor to prevent an eye disease that affects thousands of prematurely born infants and can cause blindness if not swiftly treated.
It's not a feature Steve Jobs -- much less anyone -- could have envisioned, but pediatric eye (retina) surgeons in India and elsewhere say that when using tele-opthalmology to cure a disease called Retinopathy of Prematurity (RoP), they find the iPhone to be the best platform from both a security and features perspective.
"Some babies born underweight are likely to be affected by RoP, which though curable, must be acted upon in a matter of days to prevent irreversible blindness.
This is especially a problem in countries such as India and those of a similar socio-economic nature, where lack of adequate facilities, long distances, illiteracy and low accessibility to quality healthcare cause thousands of children to become blind every year," said Anand Vinekar, project coordinator and pediatric retinal surgeon at Narayana Nethralaya, an opthalmological institute based here.
Laboratory assistants take pictures of the retinas of prematurely born babies and transmit them via broadband to pediatric eye surgeons, who could be hundreds or thousands of miles away.
These surgeons, using iPhones, enlarge the images and using the iPhone's graphics capabilities determine whether the baby needs immediate help.
Need for a standard platform
"We wanted a standard platform and the iPhone proved to be the best. With other (GSM) handsets you find that different models have different features. With a Nokia for instance, you have many models which do or do not have all the features we need. So it was easy to standardize on the iPhone," Vinekar said.
The iPhone's large screen, resolution, graphics capabilities and features offered the good picture quality doctors require, and security in the form of easy-to-publish Adobe software -- which also helps to upload patient records immediately and securely, Vinekar said.
In addition to the graphics processing capabilities that the chip industry has provided through the iPhone, it is chipping in with the software used in treating RoP. This comes from i2i Telesolutions, a startup launched by an ex-Texas Instruments India executive, Sham Banerji. Banerji led the team that developed the first DSP in India while at TI in Bangalore.
"The iPhone's pinch-and-drag capabilities, apart from its amazing resolution, are unrivaled in other phone models and the surgeons therefore decided that this is best-suited for this kind of application," Banerji said.
In India alone, thousands of children go blind every year. These numbers could fall as a result of efforts by Vinekar and others like him, along with the help of the government.
Currently, Vinekar, with surgeons such as Anna Ills of Calgary, Canada, are joining with regional governments and non-governmental bodies to use the broadband and the iPhone to fight blindness in newborns everywhere in the world.
Narayana Nethralaya Pilots Breakthrough Telemedicine on iPhone in Quest to End
Blindness in Children
iPhone now truly an EYE-Phone
BANGALORE (November, 19th. 2009) Narayana Nethralaya Postgraduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Bangalore which has been involved in pediatric community eye outreach programs for over 25 years has helped evolve a unique tele-medicine software which allows screening of rural and semi-urban infants for a potentially blinding condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity along with other common conditions including ocular cancers.
The institute has helped provide the access of this software on the iPhone. The development is said to have large consequences in reducing the blindness burden of the country.
“Retinopathy of prematurity is the leading cause of preventable infant blindness worldwide. In India, over 8% of 27 million births each year are at risk of this potentially blinding condition. Roughly if 100 ‘at-risk’ infants are screened, 15-20% may require treatment that can prevent blindness. This requires a fast and efficient system of screening infants especially in the peripheral rural areas where expertise is lacking”, said Dr Anand Vinekar, Project Co-Ordinator & Pediatric Retinal Surgeon, Narayana Nethralaya, Bangalore. “Since we began 2 years ago in 7 districts of Karnataka, we have successfully treated over 150 infants and screened over 1500, but we used the ‘store and forward’ technology that was slow and did not solve security and storage issues.” Dr Vinekar remarked.
“With the experience of over 56,000 images of infant retinas in our database, we required a dedicated web-based software with progressive viewing to speedily allow access to our experts at the base hospital. This quest lead to the development of this new technology” said Dr Bhujang Shetty, Chairman of Narayana Nethralaya.
"There isn’t anything more rewarding than seeing the anxious look of a mother with a new born at risk of blindness and giving her reassurance that the best care is only a click away on a doctors iPhone" said Sham Banerji, CEO of i2iTeleSolutions, the collaborating software partner. "The i2i team is proud that our CARE TeleOphthalmology software connects ROP specialists to pre mature infants in the farthest corners of India”, said Mr Banerji,
The i2i Teleopthalmology Application running on Apple’s iphone ushers in a new era of telemedicine letting doctors see amazingly clear images of the retina and report findings anywhere, anytime, realtime. The new pilot will run for 36 months at which time we expect TeleROP to be deployed on a much broader scale across the country and soon in other countries linking them in this unique way.
A system for accessing medical images on mobile phones.
Globally, every five seconds someone goes blind from diabetic retinopathy, infant retinopathy of
prematurity, eye cancer and other diseases. The majority of these are preventable, if screened regularly. However, many of the afflicted are in
rural areas where there is a shortage of ophthalmologists. Take for example, Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). It is the leading cause of preventable
infant blindness worldwide. Ravindra R. Battu, medical director, Narayana Nethralaya, Bangalore, says, "The cause is attributable to the fact that a
premature baby has an immature set of retinal vasculature. With exposure to the outside world with a higher percentage of oxygen, together with other
risk factors which include several neonatal illnesses especially sepsis and anemia, the immature vessels begin to get 'strained' and instead of normally
progressing to supply the rest of the retina, 'arrest' in their development and cause a ridge of extra-retinal tissue."
Most of this blindness can be prevented if diagnosed properly and treated early. Teleophthalmology technology that brings patient
data and high quality images to the ophthalmologist can help alleviate th"Sriram's work involved building a prototype using Apple's Software Development Kit which is available on the MAC platform and
interfacing it to patient images and data from a hosted server using secure connectivity and image compression algorithms. Field trials were then
conducted in live clinical sessions between hospital in Bangalore and patient sites in Kolar and in Kolkata. It took roughly six months of development
for the first production release. He is now working on developing this application into other specialist areas like telecardiology and teledentistry,"
adds Sham Banerji, chairman and CEO, i2i TeleSolutions.
The overall solution uses a mathematical compression algorithm that achieves high compression ratios for medical images.
This results in storage cost savings and faster transmission of images across the networks. The iPhone client application uses image streaming
protocol optimized for wireless networks. It exploits the rich features of iPhone for an enhanced user experience. The image viewing module is
optimized based on health care specialty.
This solution is now undergoing clinical trials with experts from India, Canada, and U.S. and has the potential of
fundamentally changing the way eye care, cardiology, and dentistry is delivered in remote regions of the world.
i2i TeleSolutions and Medialogic partner on Global Marketing and Distribution of SONOCARETM
Redefining Ultrasound Reporting and Image Management- BANGALORE (April, 2010)
In a move to dramatically improve the availability and access to world class Ultrasound Reporting an Image Management software (SONOCARETM) , i2iTeleSolutions Pvt. Ltd. Bangalore and Medialogic Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Chennai have reached a global marketing and distribution agreement which will provide the opportunity, for the first time, to have comprehensive Ultrasound reporting both in stand- alone and in remote Telemedicine applications.
Dr. S. Suresh , a leading authority on ultrasound related diagnosis and therapy, with special emphasis on fetal medicine and founder of Medialogic and Mediscan has pioneered the development and adoption of SONOCARETM in India and SE Asia.
"We would like to broaden the reach SONOCARETM which significantly improve the workflow in any ultrasound clinic. SONOCARETM helps every sonologist for a protocol guided scan and ensures a comprehensive Ultrasound Study. For Obstetric scan it offers a complete range of patient management right from early pregnancy scan to Labor & Delivery. SONOCARETM offers a complete range of pregnancy management including risk analysis." Dr Suresh CEO, Mediscan remarked.
"We are proud to have SONOCARETM as part of the product offering of i2iCARE range of Telemedicine products and services. Ultrasound image management and reporting adds a valuable new level of capability to our TeleOpthalmology and TeleCardiology reporting packages " said Sham Banerji Chairman and CEO of i2iTeleSolutions.