Secondary Care

Moorfields launches department of digital medicine

Moorfields Eye Hospital has announced it’s to launch a department of digital medicine to accelerate technologies.

The special eye hospital said the new clinical informatics department will play a key role in the use of data and technology across the organisation and by its patients. The department will be responsible for monitoring clinical safety of digital systems, and provide clinical input into the design and implementation of new technologies. It will also review and validate new technologies and play a key role in piloting digital services.

Louisa Wickham, medical director at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said: “This new department will help us to continue to make big strides in utilising the latest technologies to transform the way in which we deliver ophthalmic care so that we can continue to provide the best care for our patients.”

In January 2021, HTN welcomed Dr Peter Thomas, Director of Digital Innovation and Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist, to share the future of ophthalmology as part of our HTN Now series. Peter presented some of the innovations in use at the eye hospital, with one example focusing on home vision testing. He said: “Home vision testing is more convenient for the patient, especially during COVID-19, less costly for the NHS and more responsive…sometimes we can measure the reduction in the vision before the patient is aware that their vision has gone down…that hopefully will let us get more patients in earlier. We’ve got a saying that time is vision, so the earlier we manage to bring a patient in, the more vision we’re able to save.”

Moorfields partnered with Roche to launch the patient monitoring app, for patients to test their vision and any changes from home.

The app was developed for people with diseases that affect the macula, including neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetes. Patients interact with the app by selecting a target shape on screen, a shape different from the others, using a “shape discrimination” test . They are also asked to test their vision and perform the test twice a week, with the results sent directly to clinicians at Moorfields.

To date, 350 people have been using the app, and 70% of users said it offered them reassurance to know their vision is being monitored regularly during the pandemic

Konstantinos Balaskas, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, added: “Exciting new digital technologies, such as Home Vision Monitor, will further empower our patients to actively contribute to the management of their condition, in partnership with their clinicians to achieve the best possible outcomes. Placing such tools in the hands of patients will both improve health outcomes for patients and reduce the capacity pressures of hospital-based eye departments.”