OPTiM and MRT Announce Japan's First Remote Medical Consultation Service
for Smart Devices, Pocket Doctor
Service set to start in April with endorsement from 1,340 doctors throughout the country
TOKYO, Japan (February 4, 2016) – OPTiM (TSE: 3694), a leading provider of IoT platform services, and MRT, Inc. (TSE Mothers: 6034), a provider of medical information platforms, proudly announce Pocket Doctor, Japan's first※1 remote medical consultation service for smart devices. This service has already received the endorsement of 1,340 doctors nationwide, and is planned to launch in April 2016.
■Pocket Doctor development background
The need for remote medical consulting has been steadily growing in Japan. Traditionally, people who live in remote areas were unable to receive consultation except in emergencies. Furthermore, there has been a surge in elderly patients that have difficulties in visiting a medical center for advice. In response to this issue, the Japanese government released their "Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform 2015" in June 30th of that year. In that document, it called to "promote remote healthcare."※2 However, there has not yet been an accessible remote medical consultation service available.
So, in response to the current environment, Pocket Doctor was created. This service is a result from collaboration between OPTiM, a top leader in the IoT platform service industry, and MRT, a company started in cooperation with doctors from The University of Tokyo Hospital. In combining OPTiM's technology with MRT's medical public relations platform, the companies strive to introduce remote medical consultation in an accessible and familiar way. The result was Pocket Doctor, Japan's first smartphone-supported remote medical consultation service. With Pocket Doctor, anyone can access doctors and medical offices at any time, from anywhere.
■About remote medical consultation service Pocket Doctor
Pocket Doctor uses OPTiM's existing remote management technology, which was optimized in the development of this project to best suit the requirements for remote medical consultation. This technology, in combination with MRT's wealth of medical knowledge and network of doctors and medical institutions, allows for Pocket Doctor to match those in need of medical advice with specialists, no matter they are located. Up until now, remote medical consultation has usually been conducted over the phone, which has its limitations. A doctor can only evaluate the patient based on the patient's oral description of the symptoms. However, Pocket Doctor provides more practical information. Patients can use their built-in cameras in their smart devices to show their condition. Furthermore, wearable devices can collect and transmit various vital signs and other data to the patient's doctor. This allows medical professionals to give more detailed and accurate advice.
In addition, with Pocket Doctor, patients who are having trouble going to a hospital or who are unsure if they should go a hospital can receive proper advice.
■Outline of services provided by Pocket Doctor
- Family doctor service
The family doctor service is with a patient's regular doctor to allow the patient to be able to get a second opinion from anywhere. This service is for when a patient is busy and doesn't have time to visit a doctor just for a second opinion, or when the patient is far from his or her usual doctor's office, or for patients who have trouble traveling even short distances. By contacting his or her family doctor with Pocket Doctor and a mobile device, patients seeking medical consultation (or a second opinion) don't have to leave home. And since this service is conducted by the patient's regular doctor, it is covered by Japan's National Health Insurance.
This service is free for doctors who are taking part in the development of Pocket Doctor.
- Appointment consultation service
The appointment consultation service allows the user to find a doctor with the necessary specialization, and then make an appointment. This option is recommended for users who would like an opinion from a specialized medical practice that is not available in the area, or for users who would like a second opinion. This service is set to debut after the family doctor service.
- Urgent consultation service
The urgent consultation service allows users to receive medical consultation remotely from anywhere, at any time of day, any day of the year. This service is recommended for users who have a sudden accident late at night, ones who are too busy to visit a clinic during business hours, or ones who need to confirm if their condition requires urgent care. This service is scheduled to be available within the next year.
■Benefits of Pocket Doctor
- Meaningful data can be transmitted to the doctor, both of video and pictures by patients, and vital data collected by the patients' wearable devices. With this detailed information, doctors can give more thorough and accurate advice.
- When patients share pictures or video of their condition, doctors can use the red pen function or the finger indicator tool to clearly point out and explain certain important details.
- Doctors can effectively use their free time by holding urgent consultations or scheduled consultations through Pocket Doctor. Doctors can also hold consultation sessions when they are out of the office or taking a holiday. One example would be when a doctor has some free time while taking parental leave.
- The Pocket Doctor app is available for any user, doctor, or medical institution in possession of a smart device. It is available for iPhones and iPads with iOS 8.0 or later, and for devices with Android 4.0TMor later.
Remote Consultation Screen Image
■Endorsements from doctors and medical institutions
There are approximately 100,000※3 medical institutions in Japan, and about 1% of them have offered endorsement to this service before launch. The start of Pocket Doctor support will vary by medical institution.
- Selected medical institutions which support Pocket Doctor
- Endorsements and feedback for Pocket Doctor by medical professionals
“This can also be used for support between doctors in remote areas and other doctors."
“If I could see the patients' medical records and background, then I think I can do remote diagnosis."
“This is revolutionary!”
“At my cardiovascular internal medicine clinic, I think I can hold evaluations of electro-cardiograms, echocardiography, and catheter contents.”
“This could be very useful in dealing with illness outside my expertise or generally difficult.”
“I would love to try this if I have the chance.”
“It would be great if I can use this service in my free time.”
“I strongly understand the difficulties of medical care in remote areas.
I have had a lot of experiences where I could have given good advice with more information, such as if they should take an ambulance or just go to a hospital in their own car.”
“It's important to create strong relationships.”
“In order to account for trouble that some doctors have in sharing information, creating a wide network is key.”
“This is very suitable for hospitals without certain specialists.”
“This service is very useful for areas without many specialists because of the features like visual data transmission.”
“I'm interested in this as a research topic. I'm looking forward to learning more about it.”
“Although there are limits, it would be good to see this spread across the country.”
“This will help close the gap in medical treatment availability between big cities and other areas.”
“This app allows for face-to-face medical treatment. There are doctors who will probably prefer not to show their face, but they should. This service doesn't have much meaning if the doctor doesn't show their face to the patient.”
“This is a new field of IT.”
“I'm interested in the reimbursement system for providing diagnoses.”
“This kind of service is already available for X-ray analysis. Furthermore, holding interviews with occupational health physicians using a video chat program is one possible opportunity suggested by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. I feel that this will be suitable for general diagnoses.”
“I would like a system where I could listen in on consulting from someone outside my specialty.”
“Since this can also be used for just a simple interview about a patient's medical condition, I feel this could be very significant for conducting diagnosis discussions remotely. This will be particularly significant for medical fields that with few professionals.”
“This will be useful in remote areas. The cost is also important.”
“I think this will be extremely helpful in areas where the number of doctors is decreasing.”
“Using this app would be a practical use of time.”
“Being able to have medical consultation with one's regular doctor is a common request.
I am doing the free service [regular doctor service], and I’d like to see it linked to a larger system.”
“I think this is a service in which both the doctors and patients can contribute.”
“I think that this a useful tool in areas with a doctor shortage or for anywhere late at night or on holidays. From now, I'm considering doing diagnoses from home.”
“Being able to make a diagnosis from a picture is useful.”
“I would like this to have some radiology analysis functions.”
“If this service is legal, I would be interested in trying it.”
“This is not only useful for health care in remote areas, but it can also lessen the burden on doctors on duty.”
“I can see myself doing things like consultation by phone.”
“While the availability of information such as through genetic testing is increasing, it's possible that a patient's regular doctor could disagree with the analysis from another doctor looking at data.
It would be ideal if there could be three-way conversations with the patient, Pocket Doctor-affiliated professional, and the patient's regular doctor.”
“This is a new kind of service!”
“I want to study to see if this can become mainstream.”
“The efficiency of information systems is constantly growing, so I can see this being used more and more. Furthermore, I'm interested in its use in remote areas, I think it will be very important in that environment.”
“I originally worked in a radiology department, so I'm very interested in remote diagnosis in that field.”
“I want to try this soon.”
“I'm interested in this service, and would like more information.”
“If I can use this service properly, I think that this is a good use of time.”
“Remote diagnosis suits the needs of overworked younger doctors and has a lot of merits for doctors in areas with shrinking medical provision.”
“This addresses medical needs such as medical care in the middle of the night or treatment in an area with no clinics.”
“This will expand our field in the future.”
"Although it's natural for this to have some drawbacks, I can see this being wonderful as a whole."
"I am greatly anticipating the diagnosis by picture function."
"In order to fix the unbalanced distribution of doctors, the demand for this product will be great."
"It's relatively unlikely for there to be emergencies during my business hours. So, it's reassuring that there is a way for me to do give remote assistance while I'm at home."
"This will raise the level of house calls."
"This is an area of great interest to me, and I'm eagerly looking forward to participating in this service."
“I specialize in infectious diseases, and to be able to remotely use disease tests and then give advice for the best treatment can be useful for if a patient were somewhere remote like on a cruise ship.”
"I think this is a novel, innovative concept.”
"I was born in a remote area, so this is a great interest to me."
"As this service helps lower the cost of care, it helps the quality of life for both the patient and the doctor."
"This can make it easy to understand diseases from outside my specialty."
"My patients can use this if they have questions about their orthopedic surgery."
"Japan's facing the social issue of a low birthrate combined with an aging society. It's having a particular effect on depopulating areas. Remote medical consultation is necessary in solving unbalanced medial professional distribution across the country."
"This is indispensable for medical care in remote areas."
"Getting to do diagnoses from an image is very helpful."
"This is a very useful system for people who live far from a medical institution."
"To be able to remotely do consultation for remote areas or areas without many specialists is extremely useful."
"I think it would be useful to conduct tests on this system because it's new."
"I am very interested in this for conducting remote ICU diagnostics or diagnostics after an acute illness."
"I'm interested in the expansion of this system, especially due to the medical diagnosis at home functionality."(Selection from all contributed comments)
Even higher quality medical service will be provided through Pocket Doctor. With the combination of various health care tools and wearable devices, users can unreservedly supply their information to doctors and medical institutions in order to detect and attempt treatment for grave diseases before they manifest fully. In addition, with the power of the cloud, technology is being developed that lets patients upload their disease data to be automatically analyzed. OPTiM and MRT are working to have Pocket Doctor push Japanese healthcare to new heights.
- Image of the collaboration between health care tools and wearable devices
For more detailed information, please consult the following website.
Pocket Doctor service site(Japanese only)
|※1||As of February 4th, 2016, based on the research by OPTiM and MRT.|
For more information about this policy, please consult the following website.
Number of general medical institutions from the research conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. For more detailed information, please consult the following website.
OPTiM is a leader in internet-based services that improve its clients’ interactions with technology in all aspects of everyday life. Its services include Optimal Biz, a cloud device management service, Optimal Remote, a remote management service, Optimal Support, a setup support service, and the Unlimited content and software suite series. Its business partners include NTT, KDDI, Canon, and Fuji Xerox. Based in Tokyo, Japan, its corporate motto is, “We make the net as simple as breathing.” For more information, please visit the company website.
Since its founding, MRT has been a company that cooperates with doctors to create its extensive medical professional network. Starting with the idea of “contributing to the company while keeping healthcare in mind” MRT offers its medical information platform to all parties of the medical industry, including doctors, medical institutions, patients and other medical personnel. The company strives to apply this information to create new ways of medical care.
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※The information presented in this press release is subject to change without notice.
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Pocket Doctor website(Japanese only)