2023/04/28

Dental Treatment Evolving with Digital Technology (Part 14)

The Third Part: Interview with NTT DATA IOMC, ‘Verification Project on Medical and Dental Cooperation Using ICT’

AI (Machine Learning, Deep Learning), Clinical Doctor, Telemedicine, Examination and Diagnosis, Japan, Dentistry

Source: Shutterstock

What Technology is Required for Online Dental Treatment and Medical-Dental Collaboration?

Online medical practice is now being progressed. This is supported by the development of ICT (Information and Communication Technology). In its Basic Policies for Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform 2022, the Cabinet Office in Japan announced that it would promote the use of online medical care in order to promote digital transformation (DX) in the medical and long-term care sectors. 1)

In the USA, the number of people who used telemedicine, including online medical care, with Medicare (the public insurance scheme) jumped from approximately 910,000 in the year from March 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic began, to approximately 28.25 million in the year from March 2020. 2) The telemedicine market exceeded USD 35 billion in 2022, and it is expected to progress at 12.5% of an average annual growth rate over the next decade. 3)

The background to the promotion of online medical treatment in Japan includes several reasons. For example, difficult situation to visit medical institutions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the “promotion for improvement of doctors’ working style,” and the problem of the uneven distribution of doctors. To promote safe and appropriate online medical treatment, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) notified “Guidelines for the Appropriate Implementation of Online Medical Treatment” in March 2008. 4)
 Online medical treatment is attracting attention from medical, economic, and technological perspectives.

While online medical treatment is thus being considered in the medical field, verification has begun in the dental field. NTT DATA Management Research Institute Corporation (hereafter, NTT DATA IOMC) has been commissioned by the MHLW to carry out the Verification Project on Medical and Dental Cooperation Using ICT and is responsible for overall supervision. 5) The company has consulting experience in areas ranging from corporate management to business strategy, finance, IT and digital innovation, global services, as well as medical healthcare and nursing care.

Source: Shutterstock

Following the second part, we spoke to Mr. Dai Tomonaga, Associate Partner, and MS. Yuko Hanawa, Manager of the Life Value Creation Unit, NTT DATA IOMC.
 
Q8. As a consulting firm established as a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTT DATA IOMC, what are your views on the recent developments in ICT and digital health in healthcare in general, including online medical treatment?
Mr. Tomonaga: If ICT and digital health can reduce the burden, improve the quality of medical and nursing care, and ultimately benefit patients and users, then that should be promoted. However, half-hearted ICT and digitalization will place a burden on the frontline, and unused systems will remain a negative legacy. We feel that it is necessary to introduce a system that can be easily used in the field and withstand the operational demands of medical and nursing care.
 
Q9. This is the second year of this project, but will the ‘Verification Project on Medical and Dental Cooperation Using ICT’ be continued? Also, what role do you think this project will play in society and this field in the future?
Ms. Hanawa: The ‘Verification Project on Medical and Dental Cooperation Using ICT’ will be implemented in the following year. Various verifications will be carried out and public awareness will be raised for social implementation. The project aims to play a role in the effective utilization of limited medical and nursing care resources. It also leads to the maintenance and improvement of the quality of life of patients and users through cooperation between dental professionals and medical and nursing care facility staff, etc., and the use of ICT.

Q10. Do you have any plans to consider overseas case studies in the future in the ‘Verification Project on Medical and Dental Cooperation Using ICT’?
Ms. Hanawa: We do not plan to consider an overseas case study in particular. If we carry out the international project, we will probably conduct desktop and interview surveys, as we have done in the past when we conducted overseas surveys on EHR/PHR (Electronic Health Record/Personal Health Record) and data utilization.

Q11. How do you see the area of healthcare ICT progressing and influencing other areas?

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