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Korea, US university hospitals to cooperate in digital healthcare

Constance Williams  기사승인 2017.05.23  11:16:43

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The Chung-Ang University Hospital held an international symposium jointly with the University of Utah in Seoul Monday, to promote cooperation in digital healthcare system between the two countries.

The conference looked into the current status of the digital healthcare system in the U.S. state of Utah and discussed its possible applications to the Korean medical reality.

In November, Chung-Ang University Hospital중앙대병원 signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University of Utah Hospital for conducting joint research and development in the field of digital healthcare.

“It is a place to look for a full-fledged cooperation between the two institutions to apply online digital devices to real-world medical systems,” said Professor Han Duck-hyun한덕현 of Chung-Ang University Hospital in his opening speech. “This digital healthcare program will benefit not only medical staffs but also patients.”

Korean and U.S. participants in an international symposium to strengthen relationships in the digital healthcare sector pose for the camera, Chung-Ang University Hospital, southwestern Seoul, Monday.

Han expressed the wish to combining smart wearable devices in the Korean healthcare system. In the event of an emergency, vital signs transmitted through a wearable device worn by the patient can allow the medical staff to perceive and accurately analyze a crisis, he noted.

“We do not mean to merge telemedicine in Utah directly into Korea, but if we can learn how to use wearable devices to suit circumstances in Korea, we will be able to take advantage of the domestic medical system,” Han said.

Chris Wasden, executive director of the Sorenson Center for Discovery & Innovation who also made a speech on behalf of the U.S. participants, offered his views on the overview of telemedicine, telehealth, and digital health.

“Digital health is becoming the most disruptive force in transforming health and well-being,” Wasden said. “More data can be collected in a device than by doctors or nurses by effortlessly collecting vital signs, weight, heart rate, blood pressure, glucose level and sleep activity in seconds.”

The American executive gave the example of the four leading companies of the digital age -- Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon -- on how they changed consumer’s behaviors, and most importantly, their expectations.

“Apple created the Apple watch which allows applications record and upload vital signs right from your wrist. Google has access to information and can answer any question in seconds. Facebook can create content to share, accessing content from trusted sources for the whole world to see. Amazon has consumer experience in commerce in which they have services, information, and breadth of access,” Wasden said.

As a result of these digital experiences, we see industries completely changing. And the next industry to change should be the healthcare system, Wasden added.

Later in the day, the two universities’ medical teams agreed on the need to “commercialize telehealth & telemedicine capabilities in Korea” for the efficient use of domestic healthcare resources.

Telehealth uses computer-assisted telecommunications to support management, surveillance, and access to medical knowledge, while Telemedicine uses telecommunications solely to diagnose and treat patients, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Nate Gladwell, senior director and clinical operations director of the University of Utah Health Hospitals and Clinics, presented his experiences in telemedicine.

Gladwell specified the three primary purposes for telemedicine which is to expand patient access to specialty care in places where it’s not available, prepare our health system for the future in how we interact with our patients, and to ensure patients to receive the right care at the right time.

“As of now, we have a clinical program called Telestroke where we’re connected to 26 hospitals in six states,” the American expert said. “If a patient suffers a stroke and is taken to one of those hospitals, they can connect to our stroke specialists using telemedicine.”

Noting that exporting knowledge to help save patients’ lives is the fundamental concept of our telemedicine programs, he said, “Thirty percent of their patients came from more than 100 miles away. Telemedicine is tied to the strategy of thinking outside of the box, making partnerships and thinking better ways to treat patients in a more timely fashion.”

connie@docdocdoc.co.kr

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