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OPHTEL is promoting telematics to reduce at least half of all EU cases of blindness, which currently cost ECU 10,000 per patient annually. It will mainly target glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy which, though very common causes of blindness, respond well to fast effective diagnosis and treatment. Planned project services for this purpose include teleconsultation and partially public knowledge-based information systems. Results of OPHTEL will be transferable to other medical fields and its services used by an estimated 4000 hospital and other staff up to the year 2000.

Due to the fast increase of medical knowledge and the ongoing specialisation, providing access to recent knowledge and medical services (e.g. consultation) is a growing problem in ophthalmolgy and other medical domains. OPHTEL addresses the whole field of ophthalmology with a focus on glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy which are the most common cause of blindness in Europe. A year of blindness costs approximately 10.000 ECU per patient, covering disability funds, supplemental income programs, medical treatment, and lost income tax revenue. However, for both diseases efficient therapies do exist. Accurate and early diagnosis, and correct application of treatment can prevent blindness in 50 to 80% of all cases. OPHTEL will develop and establish services as teleconsultation, tele-image processing, knowledge-based information system, patient monitoring, and tele-screening that provide fast access to knowledge and patient related data necessary for early and accurate diagnoses and a selection of an adequate therapy. The overall aim of OPTHEL is to improve quality and efficiency of medical care in ophthalmology.

Target groups for marketing services developed by OPHTEL are health care providers in ophthalmology concentrating on private physicians, eye hospitals, and centres of expertise (university hospitals). In total about 4000 professionals and hospitals are expected to use OPHTEL services until the year 2000. Parts of the knowledge-based information system will be public and accessible for patients. Services will be provided on a commercial basis. Depending on the type of service, cost have to be covered either by health insurance companies (e.g. for tele-consultations) or directly by users (e.g. knowledge based information system). In total, OPHTEL will lead to a reduction of costs, especially when applied in rural areas. Additionally, OPHTEL will strengthen the competitiveness if the industrial partners in European and international markets by adding telematic functions and increasing interoperability of software products or servers provided by the partners.

Results of OPHTEL will be transferable to other medical domains.

Call for proposal

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GSF-Forschungszentrum für Umwelt und Gesundheit

85758 Oberschleissheim

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Participants (7)