A mobile-based app could be a new, effective way to monitor age-related muscular degeneration (AMD) or diabetic retinopathy, according to a new study. Presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), patients who used DigiSight’s Paxos Checkup app recorded similar benefits to those who had received traditional clinical checkups.
This finding further supports the hypothesis that mobile applications hold a lot of potential in the medical field, including for those suffering from vision problems or vision-related illnesses. Despite the assumed benefits of these apps, few of them have been clinically tested. The testing that this app underwent focused on comparing a standard visual test conducted in a traditional check-up setting to a Checkup vision assessment administered by the app.
The study consisted of monitoring 27 participants who were either suffering from AMD or diabetic retinopathy. They were monitored with Checkup at home, evaluated at baseline and with two monthly visits. In between office visits, participants were instructed to use Checkup for VA and Amsler testing a minimum of twice a week at home. Analyzing the results side by side, the test results of Checkup and the reference tests for AV and Amsler turned out all in agreement. Therefore it can be said with certainty that there was benefit to using the app which demonstrated excellent results similar to the clinical testing. The patient usability survey also showed a 100 percent successful home use rate.
Though there were initial concerns that patients with poor vision may experience difficulty using the app, those who participated in this study reported enjoying the experience.
If the Checkup app can be implemented into the regular care of these patients across the country, it has the potential to provide the ability to understand how a patient’s vision changes or doesn’t change in between clinical visits. Notably, this app does not seek to replace traditional visits. Instead, it would solely be used as a way to procure data in between. Also, the app test did not involve connecting to physicians’ records however those involved with this study stated how this may be the next step in the use of applications such as these.
For full disclosure, this study was conducted by the Northern California Retina Vitreous Associates and was sponsored by DigiSight.
Though there are understandably concerns about how much technology should play a role in patient care, the results of this study demonstrates how for this demographic of patients, patient care was improved. The potential of this mobile app technology and others like it is in providing more support for patients who require monitoring in between clinical visits. That said, this was a small study in comparison with others and the next step would evidently be to conduct more research on the use of apps in care.
Patients taking a more active role in their care through the use of an easy-to-use app is not necessarily a bad thing. In the years to come, more studies such as this are expected to be published, denoting the advantages to using app-based monitoring systems.