In the nearly two years that HealthComU has been in existence, many of the bloggers have had posts focused on technology—the good, the bad, and the ever-changing. In October, I posted about technology’s impact on reporting foodborne illnesses. Back in July, Payal posted about Telehealth and mobile apps. Technology has definitely changed the health care industry landscape and what is possible.
Some number of months ago, one of the ophthalmologists within the practice I work for approached me about purchasing a specific portable autorefractor, a piece of equipment that determines the correction needed for an image to come into focus. Typically this piece of equipment is large (think microwave size), and in the neighborhood of $20,000. When you add additional equipment needed within the exam room to keep the equipment fixated, it can be hard for wheelchair-bound patients to transfer to the autorefractor to take advantage of this equipment. Now, consider remote parts of the world, and you get a sense of the difficulty medical professionals face when trying to deliver the most up-to-date technology to patients, wherever they may be.
It was this desire to deliver an increased level of care to patients in remote locations, while also making this technology accessible to patients within our own clinic that was the motivator for that doctor to ask the practice to purchase this piece of equipment. In my short time as the marketing director, this doctor and her husband, also an ophthalmologist, have taken medical mission trips to the Dominican Republic and Ecuador. They have seen firsthand the need for portable technology to help assess and deliver quality care. And the SVOne has the ability to do that. The SVOne from Smart Vision Labs won a $1 million prize in the 2013 Verizon Powerful Answers competition because of how the device could help the poorest of the poor to see.
Instead of the size of a microwave, the portable technology weighs less than a pound, is roughly the size of a paperback book, and utilizes an iPhone’s camera. And this little package is the epitome of sophistication. Delivering light from 100 red dots onto the retina, the wavefront aberrometer is able to detect farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism, and even night blindness. Even in places that one might be considered “off the grid” the processor and wireless connection, along with a field mode, allows a doctor to capture the image and store results that will allow for the generation of a prescription once an Internet connection has been established. As upgrades are rolled out, users of the SVOne can look forward to lensometer options (for glass readings), eye charts, and a cloud platform for tracking records and sharing them.
The SVOne is definitely opening the doors for more advanced eyecare to reach populations both domestically and internationally. As technology continues to advance the care that medical professionals are able to render to patients will only continue to grow.