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Projects

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Current Projects

Asia Pacific Research Accelerator (APRA)

Good research transforms hospitals for the benefit of all patients. At the same time, many hospitals in the Asia Pacific Region do not systematically collect information and utilise data for research and evidence based planning.

APRA is a CERA-led initiative to build capacity to conduct research at hospitals in a number of countries in Asia, including China. The program provides education and training in research as well as clinical training support. APRA further engages with hospitals to improve their capacity to manage eye care service delivery in an effective and financially sustainable way. As part of the program, a centralised web-based platform was developed for data collection and bio-specimen tracking. The platform hosts electronic medical records, including records for rare diseases.

Through collaborating with both public and private hospitals, APRA is expected to serve as an impactful platform for academic and research collaboration which can be further scaled beyond eye health. This new ‘West Meets East learning model’ will generate new opportunities for Australian investigators and beyond to collaborate on larger scaled studies in Asia. The program aims to involve 50 Chinese high volume hospitals and 50 hospitals from other Asian countries.

For more information, please contact:
Andreas Mueller, Deputy Director, WHO CC
Email: amueller@unimelb.edu.au

Asia Pacific Tele-Ophthalmology Society

The Asia Pacific Tele-Ophthalmology Society (APTOS) was established recently as an association to promote the development of tele-ophthalmology in the Asia Pacific region. It is expected that via APTOS, member ophthalmologists, IT professionals, eye care technicians, organisations and institutions will collaborate on the research, education and implementation of technology related to delivering eye care in the digital age.

Tele-ophthalmology offers opportunities to deliver specialty health care to remote and underserved areas in the Asia Pacific region. APTOS will serve as a platform and network to explore different development models and promote best practice patterns for tele-ophthalmology. APTOS also will support individual countries in the Asia Pacific region to explore the best mechanisms for localised tele-ophthalmology development.

The APTOS Steering Committee Meeting was held in May 2016 and the first Council Meeting in June 2016. The Secretariat Office is situated in CERA. A general meeting of APTOS will be held annually. APTOS now has a total of 44 Founding Members across the Asia Pacific region, including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, USA, Japan, India and Singapore.

For more information, please contact:
Andreas Mueller, Deputy Director, WHO CC
Email: amueller@unimelb.edu.au

Development of an automated web-based screening system for eye diseases

Supported by a Bupa Health Foundation grant, this project aims to customise a web-based system that incorporates artificial intelligence to automatically detect retinal disease. This system has proven accuracy for the identification of people with chronic eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, which together account for more than fifty percent of blindness in Australia.

This project will further translate this technology to community benefit by providing an effective and more affordable screening service to many Australians. Resultant potential benefits include improvements in the efficiency of ophthalmology and optometry clinical services by allowing for more targeted referrals and decreasing wait times for patients.

Currently, project investigators are undertaking an assessment of end-user needs in order to develop a first-generation prototype system and a strategy of service delivery that is optimally adaptable to Australia. Following this, testing of the system will take place in selected screening sites in order to understand the expectation and experience of the end-users, before a real-world study will be conducted to assess the impact of the system on effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in community randomised trial.

For more information, please contact:
Dr Stuart Keel, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, CERA
Email: stuart.keel@unimelb.edu.au