Technology of Japanese start-up featured by doctors (Series ＃18）
The first part: T-ICU, Providing High-Quality Intensive Care Remotely
Providing High-Quality Intensive Care Remotely Even in the Absence of a Specialist
Of all the hospitals where I currently work and have worked as a physician, only university hospitals had intensive care physicians. Due to the shortage of intensive care physicians in most hospitals in Japan, non-specialized doctors are often forced to work in intensive care. In particular, dealing with critically ill patients in the treatment of Covid-19 is a different challenge from my previous experience in intensive care, and I realize every day that I wish the hospital had an intensive care physician.
To solve these issues, a startup called T-ICU Co., Ltd is developing a remote consultation system and remote monitoring system businesses to deliver high-quality intensive care remotely.
The T-ICU has identified three issues that the intensive care field faces.
-Shortage of specialists
-Medical disparity between urban and rural areas
-Increased burden on medical staff
To solve these issues, they offer the following two services.
(1) Remote consultation system “RELIEVE”
The critical care of serious cases requires 24-hour systemic management, including respiratory and circulatory control, sedation and analgesia, and treatment of infectious diseases, and requires a high level of knowledge and experience.
The remote consultation system, “RELIEVE,” provides 24-hour, 365-day support by a medical team consisting of intensive care physicians and certified intensive care nurses for the treatment of critical care, for which there is a nationwide shortage of specialists. “RELIEVE” supports to reduce the anxiety of medical staff who are in charge of life-threatening critical care with the latest knowledge and abundant experience.
When working as a doctor, you may have many detailed questions about what to do in such a situation but in reality, you cannot solve them even after doing some search, or only an experienced physician knows what to do, but you cannot turn to them because they are off-duty or after-hours. I believe that easy access to remote consultation with specialists is very important from a safety perspective when providing intensive care.
“T-ICU RELIEVE product introduction video” (Japanese)
Source: T-ICU Co., Ltd
(2) Remote Monitoring System “CLOSE-BY”
Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, which has become a national crisis, hospitals accepting COVID-19 patients are now required to provide both medical care and prevent infection among healthcare workers. The more serious patients require closer treatment and nursing care, while the shortage of personal protective equipment continues, making it extremely difficult to balance medical care and infection prevention.
Introduction of “CLOSE-BY” will enable patient monitoring that has never been possible before using a high-performance camera placed at the bedside. The “CLOSE-BY” system can even monitor the patient’s facial expression, color, and breathing pattern. By connecting to a variety of medical equipment including ventilators, the system can deliver multifaceted patient information to remote locations within the hospital.
When I was treating patients with severe COVID-19, there was concern that frequent putting on and taking off personal protective suits would increase the risk of infection. However, I had to do so when entering and leaving the patient's room, which caused me a lot of difficulty. I think that, with the introduction of such technology, we will have to examine patients at the bedside only when it is essential so that we can engage in medical treatment without undue stress.
“T-ICU CLOSE-BY Product Introduction Video” (Japanese)
Source: T-ICU Co., Ltd
In the next part of the article, we will share the contents of our interview with Mr. Fuminori Toyama, General Manager of Technology Management Department and Director of T-ICU.
（To be continued to the next part）
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