Keynote 4: Starting from Fukuoka, Needs of Telemedicine in Aging Society
The government of Japan has been attempting to promote telemedicine to enhance medical accessibility, corresponding to its aging society, and skyrocketing medical costs. In April 2018, the government of Japan and the Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare (MHLW) newly introduced medical reimbursement fees for telemedicine. Integrity Healthcare, a health tech venture, which is a part of Tetsuyu Group, has just launched a new concept telemedicine system, aiming at enhancing connectivity between doctors and patients in terms of communication and data sharing. A patient is supposed to answer a specific questionnaire in the waiting room and upload vital signs at home. These data input will help a doctor understand relevant patient information accurately in real time, resulting in better diagnosis and treatment. A homebound patient can also attend a medical consultation via telemedicine. We initiated a trial project in Fukuoka back in April 2017, supported by Fukuoka City Medical Association and Fukuoka City Government. Over 20 clinics participated in this trial and three patient-cases (40’s and 90’s outpatients and 80’s homebound patient) were reported at the Central Social Insurance Medical Council. Through this trial, we understand that telemedicine will prevent disease progression and dropout by grasping patient condition in both outpatient and at home. Even telemedicine may also be able to reduce patients’ family members’ mental and physical burden.