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Blog: The start of a new beginning in 2020 – IAPB Valued Suppliers Scheme

 Phil Hoare

2020 will go down in history for the wrong reasons, as we all try and cope with the CORONA VIRUS global pandemic. It not only affected everyone’s life but also had a huge impact on industry.

On a positive note, 2020 also marked the start of a new beginning for the IAPB Standard List. In April 2020 after much consideration and a decision at Board level, the IAPB Standard List was upgraded to the IAPB Valued Suppliers Scheme, giving featured manufacturers and suppliers similar benefits to our Group C members with the backing of the IAPB Brand. The Valued Suppliers have access to around 400,000 health care workers in our sector, and benefit from the huge spend in procurement from our members and their respective partners. For the first time in the history of the Standard List going back to 1985, each of the featured manufacturers and suppliers now pay a fee to list their products but receive many benefits for doing so – check out this LINK to read more about the Valued Supplier Scheme and the benefits for both Members and Valued Suppliers.

WOC 2020

2020 also changed the way we worked, as travel was banned and we all had to work from home. I therefore was unable to attend global conferences and exhibitions as I planned, but the pandemic introduced “Virtual” conferences and exhibitions. This year, I staffed a Virtual IAPB Booth at the World Ophthalmology Congress in June, attended (virtually) Sight Village in July, ESCRS Virtual Congress and Exhibition and staffed a virtual booth at the India Vision Institute Congress in October. We were also building up to our premier event, the IAPB Global Assembly in Singapore due to take place in October and the majority of our Valued Suppliers had booked exhibition space, but regrettably the pandemic put a stop to it and we had to cancel the event.

The Eye Health Hero 2020 awards saw for the first time, heroes from industry who have had an impact in eye health, and I am proud to mention that 4 of our Valued Suppliers staff members won the award, namely Eisuke Shimizu from OUI INC, Carlos Santiago Hernand from PLENOPTIKA, Juuso Erixon from OPTOMED and Sri Ramaprasad Jeyaraj from APPASAMY, and my heartfelt congratulations goes to all of them and of course to all the other winners.

AI Image

2020 has seen the first inclusions of AI and tele-medicine on the IAPB Valued Supplier Scheme. OPTOMED are the first Valued Supplier featuring their 4 software solutions to accompany their portable Fundus Cameras, AURORA and SMART SCOPE PRO. First is their ORBIT software for managing, storing and distributing fundus images, videos and related data. The second, is their LINK Telemedicine software which they can send fundus images and related structured data to a reading centre. Thirdly their DR Screen software which is a workflow management software for clinics responsible for diagnostics and follow-ups in the DR screening process.

Lastly OPTOMED AVENUE AI Portal, their gateway to AI services. With the cloud-based system, OPTOMED are able to integrate different AI algorithm providers’ services with their cameras and screening software. The results are easy to interpret and the user interface and workflow are well defined and optimised for the user.

Another one of our key Valued Suppliers, FORUS HEALTH is also developing new AI and Telemedicine solutions in conjunction with GOOGLE – we shall see these solutions on the website in 2021.

I am pleased introduce DOT-GLASSES, a recent addition to the Valued Supplier List offering one-size-fits-all adjustable spectacles, both for Adults and Kids. The range also includes simple Vision Testers, and small and large complete Vision Kits.

A number of current Valued Suppliers, including AUROLAB, TOYOTA GIBRALTAR, DEEPAK CARE, DEVINE MEDITECH have all increased their product ranges considerably, now offering a wider selection of appropriate and innovative products.

We have 26 Valued Suppliers signed up with a further 5-8 in the pipeline, covering all aspects of eye health, assistive products and Project Vehicles. Also, after the initial drop in hits at the beginning of the pandemic, we are back to around 5,000 unique visitors each month, and one of the largest hits on our new IAPB website.

We have great plans for 2021, including an upgrade to the Valued Supplier Platform, and a series of webinars throughout the year. To keep up to date with all the activities, follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter and my News Letter.

My complements of the season, and let us all look forward to a more positive 2021.

Philip Hoare – Valued Supplier Scheme Manager

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