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ProVision interactive: clinical case studies. Volume 1. Cornea and neuro-ophthalmology

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    ProVision interactive: clinical case studies. Volume 1. Cornea and neuro-ophthalmology. San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology, 1996. $115 (members), $165 (non-members).

    This is another product in the ever more rapidly growing number of CD-ROMs in ophthalmology. The program was found easy to install and ran smoothly even on machines with the minimum requirements stipulated. These are very reasonable, being a PC with a 486 SX 66 CPU running MS DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.x or a Macintosh with a 68040 processor running system 7.01. Both need a minimum of 8Mb RAM, 640×480 monitor (VGA+ for PCs) with 256 colours, 2X speed CD-ROM drive, and 5Mb of hard drive space. The vast majority of users should therefore have no problem running this CD.

    The program itself is nicely laid out and reasonably intuitive. For beginners and computerphobes a clearly labelled tutorial button is available throughout the program which calls up a comprehensive and understandable breakdown of the functions of all buttons and options available.

    The graphics are of high quality and there is an enlarge function for all pictures which gives good quality results. The sound element in this multimedia package consists of patient dialogue expanding on aspects of the case history. The dialogue is clear, sharp, and easy to understand although it failed to add much to the content of the clinical picture being presented.

    ProVision interactive: clinical case studies. Volume 1consists of three clinical cases with corneal pathology and three with neuro-ophthalmic pathology. The interactive format lends itself very well to approaching these cases in a manner similar to the clinical situation. On choosing a case a brief description of the presenting complaint is given and on screen buttons are made available as the user goes through the case. The buttons bring up detailed screens, many with several suboptions, allowing the user to be practically as superficial or as aggressive as preferred in the pursuit of a diagnosis. A wide range of differential diagnoses are available and there are options for advice from other ophthalmologists, consultations from other specialties, and a vast range of investigations available. A review case button is active throughout and brings up all relevant information obtained up to that point by the user. The program gives preferred diagnoses rather than dogmatic responses to the user’s conclusions. It contains several papers on each case for the user to refer to. It also has a facility for users to annotate the cases themselves.

    The product is very much aimed at the American market. The American Academy of Ophthalmology gives 18 CME points for the whole six cases and the program has a button to print out forms to apply to the academy for the CME points. Investigations are given with their unadjusted national Medicare prices in the USA.

    In summary, in favour of this CD-ROM are its user friendliness, quality graphics, depth of information, and facilities for adding notes; against are the heavy bias towards a US market and a rather high price tag for only three corneal and three neuro-ophthalmic cases.

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