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B. Szirth, J. Gorsack, K. Shahid, M. Zarbin, A. Khouri, N. Bhagat; Use of Telepresence in Ophthalmology Residency Training Programs. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):4226.
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Telemedicine strategies are increasingly being adopted as tools in the delivery of comprehensive healthcare management.A natural extension of telemedicine in University based teaching hospitals is real-time virtual telepresence, a critical component for sustainability of such programs. Telepresence can best be described as a specialist located at a distant location guiding, through remote virtual technologies, a person in training while delivering specialized tasks. We studied a new system for ophthalmology telepresence.
We assembled a telepresence system with direct applications to on-going clinical education and monitoring of residents (as in areas of triage, diagnosis, and treatment of vision-threatening diseases). We tested a fully interactive system using a Frontline Communicator FC-03 (Audisoft Technologies Quebec, Canada) with a PDA like control unit and a 4 GB removable memory card for image/voice data storage. The Frontline Communicator FC-03 is attached to a video indirect ophthalmoscope (Keeler Vantage) or to a clinical slit lamp biomicroscope using an ocular slip-on 10x lens mount and a Sony Cybershot 8.1 Mega Pixel camera (Sony, Japan& TTi Technologies, California). The camera allowed for single static digital images (high resolution) as well as video MPEG Movie VX (640 line image size) with voice over image for up to 180 seconds. The Sony point and shoot digital camera is equipped with a 1.0 GB memory stick.
The system was tested at one site (UMDNJ) with access to patients with retinal and anterior segment pathology. As patients were examined, retinal and anterior segment images were captured, transmitted and viewed in real time at another remote site at UMDNJ. The camera memory capacity on average was enough for one patient/two eyes slit lamp evaluations in the video mode. Additional cards were interchanged as needed.
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