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Rodrigo Martín Torres, Gabriela Saidman, Guillermo Monteoliva, Adrián Salvatelli; Networking by WhatsApp: smartphones and their use for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) in Argentina and Latin America.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(9):PB00112.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Smartphones let to easily take images and videos and share it via WhatsApp. Two groups of “WhatsApp” were created (SP-ROP in February 2015 and Proyecto E-Rop Argentina in September 2015), only for ophthalmic-pediatric specialists from Latin America and Argentina, respectively, with the objective to share opinions and ideas about retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) cases. The purpose of this work was to describe the experience of networking via WhatsApp and discuss the strengths and limitations of this experience.
A retrospective study was performed to evaluate the following parameters from the creation of each WhatsApp group until February 2020: messages total and average per day, media total and average per day. Media data are related to pictures or video-frames taken from ROP cases. That information was obtained using a free program called “WhatStats ChatAnalyzer”. Specific recommendations and rules were sent to every new participant, about confidentiality data management and parameters to set-up the smartphone for acquiring images and videos from ROP patients and how to share it.
Each group has 256 participants, which is the limit of participants allowed for a WhatsApp group. The SP-ROP has 763 total messages (49 were from media data), with 11.6 averages messages per day, during a total of 66 days. Participants were from the following countries: Brazil, Chile, México, Colombia, Perú, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Costa Rica, República Dominicana, Paraguay, and Argentina. The e-Rop Argentina has 3839 total messages (424 were from media data), with 13.5 average messages per day, during 284 total days. Participants were from the whole states from Argentina (23 provinces).
Both networks created with “WhatsApp groups” let physicians from different parts of Latin-America share opinions about cases of ROP. The group from Argentina registered more activity. Images have been sent without any standard or processing management, and possible information could be lost (but it was not assessed in this study). Understanding that our group has started to work with the "DICOM" standard applied to ROP images, hoping to develop an accessible tool, secure and effective to improve ROP prevention and management.
This is a 2020 Imaging in the Eye Conference abstract.
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