Top Japanese manufacturer Shimadzu Corporation has come up with a prototype of a medical information system to support infectious disease management.
It is claimed to be the first such system in Japan for facilitating consultations, contracts, and payments between attending physicians and infectious disease specialists.
The consultation system was developed in collaboration with Tokai National Higher Education and Research System, the Department of Infectious Diseases at Nagoya University Hospital, Nagoya University Innovative Research Center for Preventive Medical Engineering, and the Department of Infection Control at the Gifu University Graduate School of Medicine.
HOW IT WORKS
According to Shimadzu, the consultation system “provides an environment [where] the attending physician is connected to the necessary specialist at the required time.”
Once a patient’s medical records, x-rays, and lab reports are entered into the system, the information is screened using a medical language processing engine and a dictionary listing engine. Relevant clinical practice guidelines for infectious diseases and other related information then pop up on display.
The system also gathers additional patient information by posing questions to the attending physician, which are presumed to be also asked by the specialist. This makes for a smoother consultation flow, avoiding repeated back and forth between them, Shimadzu explained.
Following the consultation, minutes are automatically logged through the system so these can be pulled out later for confirming results.
Meanwhile, the system allows specialists to indicate the time and date they are available for consultations. It also has features that simplify the contract and payment arrangement between GPs and specialists.
WHY IT MATTERS
GPs commonly consult with an infectious disease specialist over the telephone or email. However, this form of communication makes it difficult to assess the outcome and degree of contribution of the specialist.
As specialists are usually swamped with their own tasks while also handling inquiries from other medical institutions simultaneously, doubts can also be cast upon their expert knowledge.
Shimadzu’s latest consultation system, the company claims, offers efficiency that contributes to higher-quality infectious disease diagnoses and treatments.
“The rapid sharing of specialist expertise with attending physicians through this system will lessen the burden on medical workers, alleviate long hours of labour, and reduce medical costs through the appropriate use of antimicrobial agents,” it added.
Shimadzu will soon test and verify the consultation system with a plan to make it commercially available in the future.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
The consultation system is the result of an ongoing collaboration between Shimadzu and Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine and Nagoya University Hospital, which started in 2018. They were initially focused on pursuing measures to obtain and harness specialist knowledge from on-site care facilities.