Date: 03 Sep 2008

The European Glaucoma Society Glaucocard project: improved digital documentation of medical data for glaucoma patients based on standardized structured international datasets

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Abstract

Purpose

To evaluate existing international IT-based ophthalmological medical data projects, and to define a glaucoma data set based on existing international standards of medical and ophthalmological documentation. To develop the technical environment for easy data mining and data exchange in different countries in Europe.

Methods

Existing clinical and IT-based projects for documentation of medical data in general medicine and ophthalmology were analyzed to create new data sets for medical documentation in glaucoma patients. Different types of data transfer methods were evaluated to find the best method of data exchange between ophthalmologists in different European countries.

Results

Data sets from existing IT projects showed a wide variability in specifications, use of codes, terms and graphical data (perimetry, optic nerve analysis etc.) in glaucoma patients. New standardized digital datasets for glaucoma patients were defined, based on existing standards, which can be used by general ophthalmologists for follow-up examinations and for glaucoma specialists to perform teleconsultation, also across country borders. Datasets are available in different languages. Different types of data exchange methods using secure medical data transfer by internet, USB stick and smartcard were tested for different countries with regard to legal acceptance, practicability and technical realization (e.g. compatibility with EMR systems).

Conclusion

By creating new standardized glaucoma specific cross-national datasets, it is now possible to develop an electronic glaucoma patient record system for data storage and transfer based on internet, smartcard or USB stick. The digital data can be used for referrals and for teleconsultation of glaucoma specialists in order to optimize glaucoma treatment. This should lead to an increase of quality in glaucoma care, and prevent expenses in health care costs by unnecessary repeated examinations.

Presented in parts at the 105th meeting of the German Society of Ophthalmology (Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft—DOG) 2007.
Supported by an unrestricted grant from MSD/Chibret Europe.