The Royal College of Ophthalmologists endorses the AAO's call for standardisation of digital imaging

  • 10 Apr 2021
  • RCOphth

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has issued a statement, ‘American Academy of Ophthalmology Leads Call for Ophthalmic Equipment Manufacturers to Standardise Digital Imaging’.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists agrees with the recommendations that manufacturers must implement the existing international standard for communication and management of medical images and related data (DICOM).

Currently, DICOM compliance for ophthalmic imaging technologies is low and there is no easy way to exchange digital imaging data between platforms. Standardisation of images in ophthalmology would ensure that medical technology is more relevant to the needs of the end-user, the ophthalmologist, by assuring that there is interoperability and ultimately a seamless interface that allows the communication and comprehension of image data between two parties.

Once ophthalmic imaging device manufacturers implement globally recommended standards, then the field of ophthalmology can rapidly progress along the path of efficient electronic workflow, interoperability, and artificial intelligence systems that will meet an increased demand for ophthalmic services to the public.

Anthony Khawaja, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Chair RCOphth Informatics & Data, ‘We are asking manufacturers to adopt DICOM standards moving forward, to ensure that technology keeps up with the needs of the ophthalmologist and ensure efficient communication of imaging data between electronic systems. This interoperability will aid effective diagnosis and monitoring as well as enable large-scale data science research, ultimately improving patient care.’

Alastair Denniston, Consultant Ophthalmologist and RCOphth Member Informatics & Data, ‘For most of the commonest causes of sight-loss in the UK, we are highly dependent on the remarkable imaging systems we use. But that can be severely limited if systems ‘won’t talk to each other’. I am really delighted that the Royal College of Ophthalmologists is supporting this important initiative, as it is a key step towards ensuring maximal interoperability for improving care and accelerating research into these sight-threatening conditions’.

Ophthalmic imaging technology is already world-leading and we are asking that manufacturers work directly with the users, ophthalmologists, to further improve the standardisation of ophthalmic imaging platforms.

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