How to Have Doctors Who are Always On
Ubiquitous healthcare is indeed discussed ubiquitously in Korea and gives some people the highest fever. On May 28, 2009, while the representative speaker from the Ministry of Knowledge Economy was expressing his great expectations for futuristic u-Healthcare systems at the 2009 IT 21 Global Conference in Gangnam, the 2009 u-Health Global Summit was held nearby in COEX. It drew u-health professionals to explore the trends in the u-Health Market and u-business models. What brings so much attention to the term Ubiquitous Healthcare that makes it the hot issue of discussion in two places at once?
The concept of ubiquitous healthcare has been repeatedly defined and understood, but is still way too broad for both physicians and patients to accept. How far does it go? How would it benefit hospitals? Would a u-healthcare device help cure a patient? Questions were raised from one side of the room to the other at the 2009 u-Health Global Summit. Restless skepticisms and doubts were hammered down when CEO Cha Joo-hak of Kyeongwon U-Globe said: "Try first, discussion comes next." Indeed the concept of ubiquitous healthcare is still a frontier, and courage is the spirit of the frontier. Without testing and applying newly developed u-healthcare products in current hospital systems, how can we claim perfection of the product?
Break It Down
CEO Cha helped narrow the perspective of ubiquitous healthcare information systems. "Ubiquitous healthcare means the real-time response of Always On availability. Always On is the key here that is going to reduce time, medium cost, and any possible errors in future medical systems. Yes, ubiquitous means many other things - from availability to adaptability to connectivity to mobility - but the bottom line of a u-healthcare system is patients having an Always On virtual doctor," Cha asserted. "For example, our company's product is the Hygeian Ultimate Service that comes with a non-contact pulse rate and respiratory rate meter, modified bipolar electrode, biomedical patch, and 3G smart phone. By simply pasting 3 nanohair-based biomedical patches, bio-signals, respiration signals, capacitive heartbeat data, finger PPG signals, and heartbeat signals are transferred to our Hygeian Ultimate Service to be analyzed and monitored in real time. Active participation in using products like this allows the big jump to the Virtual Doctor Era."
You Are Not Alone
Most health treatments are best supplemented with daily exercise and a good diet. After having either major or minor surgery, the patients are asked to check-in to the hospital every three to six months for any possible recurrences. With all this advanced medical technology and information, why wait three months in fear and doubt at home? It is definitely challenging to keep a good diet and perform daily exercise without any attention or encouragement, but this was something that previous physicians had to leave up to the patients' full responsibility. Imagine what kind of revolution ubiquitous healthcare may bring both to physicians and patients.
In biological terms, a relationship between two species of organisms in which both benefit from the association is called Mutualism. The current medical centers often question if commercializing u-healthcare devices like this would ever work against them. Many things will stay on hospital Concern Lists if the ubiquitous healthcare devices are expected to speak or make decisions on behalf of the doctors. However, the only thing the devices are saying in 2009 is, "Allow us to monitor." A physician aid to keep a close eye on the patients' daily condition means extra service outside of the hospital. It means sharing the responsibility of a vulnerable patient to encourage daily exercise and diet. It means faster face-to-face examination for doctors based on daily monitored records. It means a hospital that shows real care, and it means vulnerable patients are no longer left alone to wonder until the next appointment day. "This is why we believe that the government should consider establishing a U-healthcare Monitoring Center where a patient can freely travel without worrying about any possible medical-related incidents. This shouldn't be accepted as a threat to current medical centers because what we are promoting is a Lifestyle Care Center, which will best serve the medical centers upgrading their services and efficiency," said Cha.
The 2009 u-Health Global Summit therefore suggested, "It never hurts to try."