Roche Turns Its Home Monitoring Sights Towards Eye Care

Roche has been a key player in the healthcare home monitoring game since even before the pandemic made sheltering at home the new normal. The company has been developing point-of-care devices for the home for years to give patients more control and freedom over when and where they engage with their providers. With plenty of devices on the market that measure a wide range of metrics in the comfort of a patient’s home, Roche recently added a vision monitoring system to their arsenal.

Many people do not want to have to spend significant time at the doctor’s office, and while annual visits and regular check-ups are heeded in normal times, patients are likely to indefinitely postpone annual wellness checks in times of a pandemic. Roche developed its Home Vision Monitor app for people with retinal diseases who normally have frequent in-office check-ups to monitor the progress of their condition.

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The risk of irreversible vision loss because of missed appointments only increases during lockdown and COVID-19 has impacted the healthcare industry in many ways. Jill Hopkins, Roche-Genentech’s Global Head of Ophthalmology Personalized Healthcare said, “[the pandemic puts] tremendous stress on both physicians and patients in terms of what do we do. Are we going to lose vision? Do we risk bringing people in? Can we limit the work-up or can we limit the time that we spend in the clinic and just deliver treatment? There is a lot of concern about prolonged extensions of treatment intervals for people.”

Roche’s Home Vision Monitor detects vision changes via a smartphone app by asking patients to point out minute differences between shapes on their screen. Patients can quickly and easily undergo the test multiple times per week to closely track perceived changes in their vision. The app has been found to be intuitive and user-friendly, promoting a high level of participation. Patients test each eye twice per session, which typically only takes between six and eight minutes to complete, or about one-third the amount of time usually spent in a waiting room. The app can also be set to send reminders via push notifications. Results are sent directly to health care providers and doctors are notified if significant changes are recorded.

By providing alternative options for monitoring progressive retinal diseases, Roche’s technology is helping to help keep patients safe, while also allowing them to continue to closely monitor their eye health and communicate with their doctors.