Title: Distant Medical Education in Asia and Beyond – Actions for sustainable expansion
International medical teleconference, which connects hospitals internationally with video conferencing (VC) and live demonstration, contributes to the standardization of medical skills and knowledge. Asia and Latin America are known to have a high incidence of gastric cancer; however, there is a large difference in the mortality of gastric cancer among these regions. In Japan, the mortality rate is lower than other Asian and Latin American countries because of its advanced diagnostic techniques of early gastric cancer. Because of this, Asian and Latin American doctors visit Japan to learn about the techniques of diagnosis of early gastric cancer. Because of the limitation of cost and time for traveling, efficient learning using VC is expected. Furthermore, the scalability and effectiveness of connecting many institutions at a time can be mentioned as an advantage of VC. We have been conducting international medical teleconference since 2002. Over 850 programs have been held connecting 576 hospitals and universities in 62 countries, with the majority of it in Asia and Latin America. Continuous technical development leads to increasing number of conferences, involving smaller hospitals. However, there are still limitations to the program in the different regions and contents for two reasons. First is because hospital engineer’s ability differs between hospitals. Second is the difficulty of mutual collaboration between doctors and engineers, and collaboration among hospitals domestically / internationally. For sustainable expansion of distant medical education, we promoted engineering training programs such as Train-the-Trainers (TtT) program, and Telemedicine Engineering Training (TET) program. Also, we organized domestic workshops and international symposiums for promoting cooperation in the hospital level (i.e. between doctor and engineers), domestic level, and international level.
Kuriko Kudo, Ph.D., has been working at the Telemedicine Development Center of Asia (TEMDEC) at Kyushu University Hospital since August 2011. She graduated from Kyushu University with a doctorate in design, with digital archives using 3D computer graphics based on physical measuring that accounts for motion, shape, lighting, and the spectral reflectance of materials. She currently works in technical support for remote medical education as an assistant professor and chief technical officer (CTO) of TEMDEC. She is involved in engineering training as a Steering Committee member of the Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN) Medical Working Group. She also leads research on communication design for handling international medical teleconferences and development of online database systems.