RESEARCH ARTICLE


Teleophthalmology in Practice: Lessons Learned from a Pilot Project



Haleh Ayatollahi1, Aynaz Nourani1, *, Taleb Khodaveisi1, Hossein Aghaei2, Mehrdad Mohammadpour3
1 Department of Health Information Management, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Eye Research Center, Rassoul Akram Hospital, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3 Farabi Eye Hospital, Eye Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


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© 2017 Ayatollahi et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Health Information Management, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; Tel: 0098-21-88794301; E-mail: aynaz.nourani@gmail.com


Abstract

Introduction:

Ophthalmology is a medical specialty which may benefit from using telemedicine and teleophthalmology services. Such services are significantly important in the poor, remote, and impassable geographical areas, where there is no access to the ophthalmology services and ophthalmologists. This study aimed to design and implement a teleophthalmology system using the method of store-and-forward.

Methods:

The study was conducted in 2015 and consisted of two main phases. The first phase was based requirement analysis, and in the second phase, after designing the prototype, an initial usability testing was undertaken in a teaching hospital. The participants of the study were 10 optometrists and 10 ophthalmologists (cornea specialists). For each phase of the research, a questionnaire was used to collect data, and the collected data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results:

In this study, users’ requirements were initially investigated. Then, the teleophthalmology system was designed based on the literature review and the results derived from the requirements’ analysis. Finally, usability testing showed that the users were relatively satisfied with the system.

Conclusion:

According to the results, it can be concluded that the teleophthalmology technology can be used in the country by optometrists and ophthalmologists to improve eye health care services and to prevent the prevalence of curable eye diseases.

Keywords: Ophthalmology, Optometry, Telemedicine, Remote consultation, Cataract, Teleophthalmology.