When Russia invaded Ukraine, our clinic, Expert Ophthalmology in Kyiv, was immediately closed and our team switched to working remotely from western Ukraine and abroad on Altris Education OCT. Altris Education OCT is a free mobile application for ophthalmologists and optometrists in which users learn to analyze OCT scans and find pathologies and pathological signs interactively. The application was created by practicing retina experts who are the R&D team of Altris as well as doctors at Expert Ophthalmology.
Image 1: Altris Education OCT
As the owner of the clinic and the CMO of Altris, I decided to stay in Kyiv and coordinate the remote work.
Image 2: Maria Znamenska, MD and owner of Altris AI.
Here is the story of the educational mobile application that helps us to continue working even during the war.
How Altris Education OCT began
The idea of Altris Education OCT was shaped during EURETINA 2019 when one of our booth visitors said he would gladly substitute his Facebook feed with the feed filled with the OCT scans interpretation. He wanted to interact with OCT scans highlighting different pathologies and learn in such a way. (I hope that man will read this article!)
At that moment, we decided to create Altris Education OCT, which could provide at least 50,000 ophthalmologists and optometrists with a modern and interactive means for education. Altris Education OCT has become one of the main products of Altris. Inc, a MedTech startup that applies AI technologies to OCT interpretation.
After 10 years of teaching ophthalmology at the National Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education in Kyiv and 17 years of experience in OCT diagnostics, I know that traditional educational methods do not always resonate with a new generation of optometrists and ophthalmologists. My team at the clinic has worked on several clinical trials and routine medical practice as well as the development of many webinars and educational courses for ophthalmologists from the СIS region on medical retina, OCT, OCT-angiography, neuro-ophthalmology, uveitis, optometry, and others.
Image 3: Dr. Znamenska in classroom.
Despite OCT devices becoming more available for clinics and optometry businesses, many eyecare specialists still make mistakes when interpreting OCT scans. These observations led me to the idea of a new approach to teaching OCT scan interpretation.
The war demanded adaptation
That was before Russia invaded Ukraine. When the war started, we were forced to close the clinic immediately. Kyiv was the main target of the Russian army, which is why the city was heavily shelled. People had to either spend days and nights in the bomb shelters or get evacuated.
In my clinic, all employees are women, and all of them are high-level specialists (retina experts, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, genetics, etc.). Women are especially affected by any war, since they are responsible for themselves and for their children. When the invasion started, the employees of the clinic had to leave Kyiv for safety reasons; some of them moved to western Ukraine, and others went abroad.