American College of Physicians Japan Chapter Interim Report 2020
Health and Public Policy Committee
Chair: Hiroshi Ono
Vice-chair: Masato Ito
REPORT: What we have done
Even now, it is still in the corona-era, and face-to-face meetings have not been held since last December. Furthermore, there is a history that ACPJC 2020 was not held this year unfortunately, and no project has been completed since the committee was reorganized last July. We are currently continuing discussions on the mailing list for the topic mentioned in the PLAN below.
PLAN: What we are going to do
Evaluation and consideration of the integrity of online medical care/telemedicine
In Japan, which has a super-aging society, online medical care/telemedicine has been in the limelight since 1997 in order to solve the uneven distribution of doctors in metropolitan areas and the impaired accessibility to HCFs in rural areas. Since then, in 2018, concerning social issues such as rapidly expanding aging society across Japan, IT progression in this field was accelerated aiming to reduce outpatient visits as a patient factor, and to popularize telemedicine as part of reforming the working style of doctors (unfortunately, which was not noticeably spread at that time).
As the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19), which began in the winter of 2019, is spreading again, the government has been taking the initiative in accelerating to spread of telemedicine using phones and/or computer networks as solution tools for the concerning situation (e.g. getting become difficult for patients to consult doctors directly). Then, this type of medical care is once again in the limelight, and a scheme for its proper operation having been formed now. In response to these global and social movements, we all HPPC members are continuing discussions on the mailing list focusing on this topic.
Generally, telemedicine is conducted between doctors and patients, and it is possible to examine, monitor using some extra-equipment, and explain the diagnostic results of patients not in urgency, but in principle, the first examination must be face-to-face, and prescription can be made after the examination. However, the technology in this field is progressed largely from the IT professional’s view, not from the clinician’s view. Therefore, from the clinician’s standpoint, we are currently discussing the limitation of telemedicine, the practice of EBM, CW/HVC, and the method of establishing professionalism within “Human to Human (H2H)” communications, and we would like to make recommendations from this committee in the future.