OPHTEL 1996 Project Print
OPHTEL 1996 was a research project in the field of teleconsultation, co-management and registries in ophthalmology based on IT environments. The project was sponsored by the European Community (EC) within the telematic project pool (1996-1999).

Objectives of the Project
The overall aim of OPHTEL 1996 was to improve quality of medical care in ophthalmology. In particular OPHTEL 1996 focused on glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. OPHTEL developed and established services that provide fast access to knowledge and patient related data necessary for an early and accurate diagnose and a selection of an adequate therapy.

Additionally OPHTEL strengthened the competitiveness of the industrial partners in European and international markets. Software products or services provided by the partners were improved by adding telematic functions and increasing interoperability.

Guided by an analysis of user needs OPHTEL provided a system with the following functionality:
  • Teleconsultation: For example private physicians will have the opportunity to get a second opinion form specialists located in hospitals using synchronous communication via video conference systems and asynchronous communication via a multimedia mailbox system.
  • Knowledge based information system: The information system - based on a central information server - will provide multimedia information about ophthalmic diseases and therapies as well as news from vendors for ophthalmic instruments, pharmaceutical companies, scientific associations etc.
  • Knowledge based monitoring: Using a standardized documentation of the most relevant findings (like images of the eye background, intraocular pressure, perimetry data), the monitoring system will compare these data with ‘normal values’ and detect changes in time. Warnings will be generated and recommendations for therapy will be given, if the changes reach a preclassified level defined in the medical knowledge base. The final decision about necessary treatment steps will be made by the physician.
  • Image processing: Digital analysis and synthesis of images from patients will be performed to support diagnosis and monitoring. The image processing will be either done on local computers or for complex problems as the 3-dimensional reconstruction of the eye background on remote parallel image processor.
  • Register system: To support the classification and follow up of patients with diabetic retinopathy a central register will be built up. Data collection will be based on the SEE (Save Eyes in Europe) software which assists the day-to-day collection of data for the screening of diabetic retinopathy. In contrast to conventional registers the SEE-Register has to include multimedia data (images and videograms) to allow a precise calculation from progress of a patient's disease.