Ophthalmology 4.0: Interview with the President

The motto of the DOG 2018 is “Ophthalmology 4.0”. Congress President Prof. Dr. Nicole Eter explains why she has chosen this motto, what is new and what the participants can look forward to.

Your motto “Ophthalmology 4.0“ sets the focus of this year’s congress on digitisation. What are your visions concerning the digital shift in medicine and ophthalmology?

When it comes to digitization and eHealth Germany lags far behind other developed countries. However, digital solutions could bring significant benefits for doctors and patients, for example the exchange of patient data in order to avoid unnecessary exams or the use of artificial intelligence as a decision support system for doctors. Diagnostical data can be shared more easily. Digital patient records also form the base for big data and therefore serve as a milestone for quality control and healthcare research.

digital sunday is a new element in this year’s congress. What can visitors expect?

On digital sunday we will discuss the opportunities and challenges of digitization. Visitors are invited to share their questions and insecurities about digital solutions and applications and to discuss them with other participants. Symposia investigate scientific questions about digital patient records, big data analyses and technical solutions. In workshops and lectures, visitors can get practical recommendations concerning data protection, social media and websites.

Prof. Dr. George Williams (Michigan) will talk about the IRIS registry in his keynote lecture on Friday. What is the current state of the planned DOG registry?

The IRIS registry provides insight into the spread of eye diseases and contributes to quality assurance and optimization of today’s treatment standards. In November 2017, the DOG began to establish a central German eye registry similar to the IRIS registry. For this purpose, a computer scientist was hired in the DOG office. We want to obtain a broad data set for ophthalmology from routine data of all practices and clinics in Germany. The important parameters for this are currently defined in the sections and associated societies of the DOG. All congress visitors are welcome to inform themselves about the project at our lecture on digital sunday.

Which other highlights can congress visitors look forward to? Which formats are new?

One of the many highlights is this year’s guest lecture at the Opening Ceremony by Dr. Gottfried Ludewig, head of the “Digitalization of the Health Care” department newly created in the Federal Ministry of Health. I hope that his words will lead to fruitful discussions. The keynote lectures on minimal invasive surgery by Prof. Daniel Mojon and on the future of eye examinations of Pearse Keane promise exciting and new perspectives.
As a new format we introduced workshops. These sessions provide the framework for exchange, discourse and networking for a group of specialized experts. They have an interactive character and deal with very specific topics and fundamental research.

Which item is on top of your personal favorites list?

The entire program of the DOG 2018 promises to be extremely interesting. I’d love to listen to every single lecture and look at every poster. I especially look forward to the “Future of Ophthalmology in the Field of Health Policy Challenges”. For the first time, we have managed to organize a health policy symposium in which we will enter a dialogue with key players in the German health care system. The event offers the opportunity to directly ask questions that move us. I expect an exciting discussion.