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NIH Funded Telemedicine study demonstrates effective methodology for catching blinding disease in premature babies

In June of 2014, the NIH reported on a study conducted by the e-ROP Cooperative Group, which counts 12 US and one Canadian clinic in its collaborative sites.  The study cohort included more than 1200 infants born an average of 13 weeks prematurely.  Each infant was evaluated approximately every nine days by an ophthalmologist.

 Some level of ROP appears in more than 50% of all infants born at 30 weeks or earlier, with between 5% and 8% of those becoming severe enough to warrant treatment.  In the study, 43 percent of the advanced ROP cases were identified earlier using telemedicine (15 day earlier on average), than when detected via live examination by an ophthalmologists.  With the study results indicated that remotely read digital images identified a higher percentage of correct RW-ROP than live examination by clinicians, here digital images are sent to a reading facility with trained readers evaluating the images, referral warranted ROP (RW-ROP)