As team lead, I was invited to attend the Women & Children’s hospital to-day, to the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to help assess a new model of a retinal camera called a ‘Pan O Cam’.
Manufactured in the USA by a company called Visunex Medical Systems, this is the latest state of the art, HD, paediatric retinal camera based on the RetCam3, but allegedly superior in a number of areas.
Interestingly, the CEO and the Vice President of Visunex, both used to work at Clarity Medical Systems who design and manufacture the RetCam. Apparently, these two guys left the company, started Visunex and took the best of the RetCam and improved it. They are also selling it a bit cheaper!
The camera was found to be very impressive with some great images taken of 2 prem babies by the lead paediatric consultant.
Not only is the operating system far easier to use than the RetCam, images are displayed wirelessly from the camera to a large, touch screen monitor mounted on the base unit. This means the operator can leave the bulky base unit in the corridor of the ward say, and move about each incubator just with the wireless hand held camera.
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for one child, pathology was spotted in one eye.
Hypothetically, this possibly could have been missed using the existing BIO method and may have meant a trip to Oxford for Retcam imaging with the associated delays to treatment and possible adverse visual outcomes. As it is, diagnosis was very quickly made with remedial action scheduled for tomorrow. Great service!
Compared to the existing method of one ophthalmologist viewing the eyes and doing a rough paper drawing of what they thought they saw, two ophthalmologists were reviewing HD, colour, still images, flicking back and forth looking at 130 degree coverage of the babies retinas and making qualified, unambiguous decisions on pathology seen. This is truly 21st century medicine.
This is a massive, massive improvement over current techniques and needs shouting from the rooftops how much a retinal camera will improve the lives of any under 5 suffering from a sight threatening eye disease in the East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire areas.
All the ophthalmologists at the Trust are seriously getting very excited at the prospect of getting one of these cameras now and are putting a lot of effort in trying to find the best and most cost effective solution for the hospital.
From our point of view as a team raising the funds to buy this equipment, we want the best retinal camera that funds will buy, regardless of who manufactures it or what it is called. After reviewing both the RetCam and the Pan O Cam, my money would be on the latter, but at the end of the day, the decision will be made by the people that are going to use it.
Watch this space, another manufacturer is going to be in the spotlight soon!