This is from an email conversation between me and an ophthalmologist on the topic of research data.
Me: In our self-tonometry research, we perform frequent eye pressure monitoring throughout the day. The testing needs to be quick and convenient. If the testing takes too long, it will interfere with our ability to collect frequent measurements. The larger number of measurements helps answer questions we could not otherwise answer and it also eliminates some concerns regarding reliability of the data.
Doctor: Is the emphasis on using devices that allow for quick testing appropriate? Wouldn't you rather use a less convenient instrument that took longer to complete a measurement, but that also gave higher quality results? Isn't one good measurement better than one hundred lower quality measurements?
Me: As you know, the ideal instrument does not exist. All instruments have trade offs. The instruments that we use for quick testing are both accurate and reliable. But, more importantly, our overall approach actually results in higher qualty data.
When it comes to data, in the age of modern computing technology, more data is almost always better. We want more data more frequently and over longer periods of time. That's why we do frequent IOP testing. I have been measuring IOP daily for 5 years.
Our approach reminds me of disruptive technologies. For example, the personal computer was a disruptive technology. We are disrupting the status quo which is based on obtaining one IOP measurement every few months in a context that the ophthalmologist may feel is the only way to achieve high quality data. Our disruptive approach may seem questionable from that perspective, but we actually end up with a superior result.
The IOP data that comes out of our newest FitEyes Insight software is unmatched by any research organization involved with IOP research anywhere in the world. We can do stuff with IOP data that no one else in the world can match. Taken as a whole, the IOP data from a person performing self-tonometry with the newest FitEyes Insight software is better quality data than any existing alternative, including the most careful in-office exams with a Goldmann tonometer.
It may be of interest to note our policy on bad data. In our self-tonometry data, I force the retention of the bad data. This has a purpose. For example, the ratio of bad measurements to good measurements is a valuable metric. Sometimes it can identify a tonometer problem or even a corneal problem.
I keep all the data -- under the condition that we can always tell bad data from good data by the metadata in our dataset. We simply exclude the bad data from any analysis of that factor.
The IOP data from a person using a simple, convenient non-contact tonometer plus our newest FitEyes Insight software is not only reliable and accurate -- it provides information that cannot be obtained from traditional in-office IOP exams (or even from hospital-based diurnal exams).