Tech Talk: Help for rural communities

CSIRO camera to help GPs screen for eye disease
GPs in rural and isolated areas could be screening for eye disease in the near future following a successful Federal Government–funded trial of a new low-cost retinal camera.

The Remote-I platform, developed by CSIRO, captures high-resolution images of the retina, which can then be uploaded to a cloud server over satellite broadband to be reviewed by an ophthalmologist.

The trial involved 1300 people and was carried out in remote rural areas of WA and Queensland. It identified 68 people as being at high risk of going blind, while eight were found to have severe diabetic retinopathy.

“This kind of low-cost technology could be beneficial to their practice in rural and remote areas,” said CSIRO trial leader Professor Yogi Kanagasingam.

Google developing clinical wristband
Google is branching out from consumer health devices with the development of a health-tracking wristband that will be marketed for medical use and clinical trials.

The experimental device (pictured) can measure skin temperature, pulse and heart rhythm, as well as environmental information such as noise levels and light exposure. Trials to test the wristband’s precision will begin shortly in Europe and the US.

“We’re especially interested in new smart devices that integrate easily into patients’ daily lives and could help transform the detection, prevention and management of disease,” a Google Australia spokesperson said.

Online module to aid GPs on e-mental health
A new online education module aims to give GPs a better understanding of what online mental health resources are available, how they work, their history and their efficacy.

The new module is the first instalment in a six-part suite of educational materials developed by the Black Dog Institute under the eMHPrac project banner.

GPs will also be able to access a community forum to share knowledge and education on mental health.

“It is free and accredited for two CPD points for each module and 40 CPD points if you do it as an ALM and complete all six,” the institute’s GP services consultant, Dr Jan Orman, said.

See the Black Dog Institute website for more information