Since 2017, students at Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin have enjoyed making practical use of Topcon’s system software. “Harmony” has long since flown through its baptism of fire, and yet its next challenge is coming up next autumn. During this extraordinary pandemic period, neither the graduates nor their professors were able to fully experience Harmony’s sustainable strengths in daily practice following the intensive installation phase. This is set to change, and the experiences of the past few weeks have whet the appetite for the upcoming practical elements in the coming semester of the optometry course: students of which can be just as happy about the functioning collaboration between Beuth University of Applied Sciences and Topcon Deutschland Medical, as the cooperation partners themselves.
At Beuth University of Applied Sciences, the newly renovated rooms will continue to serve Topcon, and its cloud-based Harmony software, as a “dry run area and showroom”. Topcon has stepped up to the challenge and integrated all our devices into Harmony, allowing us to significantly simplify and optimise the recording of findings and retrieve patient data on the different devices. “This is a significant advantage that comes into play, especially in terms of our clinical internships, where students work with real patients,” explains Prof. Ralph Krüger, Head of the Optometry Laboratory at Beuth University of Applied Sciences. The successful networking of the various interface requirements of what will soon be more than ten manufacturers with more than twice as many devices serves as further evidence for Topcon that Harmony is the innovative pioneer for digital networking and that it is unique in the market. And last year, Beuth University of Applied Sciences felt that these were good reasons to extend the four-year collaboration for the long term.
Together with the Eye-Office industry software, Harmony will in future provide students with a “very convenient, clear and swift data collection system that is fun to use,” says Astrid Krawalski, the optometrist and project manager at Beuth, who puts the software through its paces in a direct exchange with the students and who is able to make fine adjustments herself whenever necessary. “The feedback from students has been great; they clearly enjoy working with the software and can concentrate on the essentials:
They no longer need to concern themselves with the particularities of the respective devices and manufacturers when entering and retrieving data at the various workstations. Instead, they get to concentrate on the patients.”
Collecting all measurement data in a central interface
The findings are recorded centrally and permanently, which is where Harmony’s ability to effortlessly connect to any industry software really pays off. “With Eye-Office, we offer a complete solution, but Beuth University also uses a range of devices from the ophthalmology department. The problem here surrounded the collecting of all the patients’ measurement data, or rather that of the ophthalmological devices, in one central interface,” says Jochen Sarrazin, Managing Director of Eye-Office, who was previously unaware of such a manufacturer-neutral networking option. Like Sarrazin, Topcon Deutschland Medical also wants to support the university. Both will continue to benefit from the experience of the students and professors as they go about their daily work. Ultimately, however, they, of course, also want this unique digital networking arrangement to present a solution that students will remember as being “state of the art”.
Robert Habel, Director of Business Development Digital Solutions at Topcon Deutschland Medical, is delighted with the positive feedback and, like all the cooperation partners, is already looking forward to the forthcoming autumn semester: Then, the students will presumably be in a position to convince themselves of the simple and efficient handling in practice without interruption and over a longer period of time – just like before the Corona pandemic: “Harmony allows real-time patient information to flow seamlessly and securely from practices’ electronic medical records directly to the respective device and back again. Independent of type, manufacturer and location, all devices involved are integrated into a web-based platform using our software, which additionally supports the integration of artificial intelligence and telemedical services.”. Even without the connection to telemedical services, the situation at Beuth University proved challenging for the Topcon team due to the number of devices; however, access to all examination data from any computer is feasible with Harmony for both smaller and such mega projects. “The opportunities made available by Harmony are sure to be quickly missed by our graduates in the clinics, and possibly also companies, where they will be working after graduation,” adds Krawalski. An impression that Habel also got during his participation in a graduating class seminar and which Topcon would like to counter with special offers for start-ups.
Data management and communication of the future
The fact that this year fewer students were able to avail of the benefits and conveniences of this manufacturer-independent solution for data management and future-focussed communication was not down to the particular challenge of integrating so many devices of different types and manufacturers with diverse software solutions into one system. On the contrary, the Corona pandemic, in particular, made all of the processes more difficult.
Regardless of this, Beuth University in Berlin has become an actual reference centre for Topcon Healthcare, which in the future will invite satisfied graduates, but also interested opticians, optometrists and, last but not least, ophthalmologists to a state-of-the-art showroom with unique digital networking. The Topcon team made good use of the pandemic and once again took the collaboration in Berlin to the next level, integrating even more devices and, thanks to the interface to Eye-Office, creating an option to “feed” all devices with all the data collected. Topcon Harmony and Beuth University of Applied Sciences overcame the challenges and are now opening up the opportunity for various eye experts at a range of practice locations to work closely together in the future to ensure eye health care at the high level required in today’s world and to prevent gaps in care.
Original press release published by Topcon Deutschland Medical.