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How IBM wants to build a bridge between patient and doctor

https://www.netzwoche.ch/news/2017-10-13/wie-ibm-eine-bruecke-zwischen-patient-und-arzt-bauen-will


IBM and Docdok.health have presented a platform for the contact between doctor and patient in the research laboratory in Rüschlikon. It aims to facilitate the management of chronic diseases.

IBM wants to create new ways of communication between patient and doctor. (Source: Network Media)

Especially in the treatment of chronic diseases, medicine has a problem, says Thomas Brunschwiler. Doctor and patient see each other only sporadically. How the patient is doing, how his values ​​develop, the doctor would remain in the dark for a long time. When it comes to a consultation, often missing the time for a detailed examination. The doctor often has to rely on the descriptions of his patient.

This is where the platform that Brunschwiler and his team are developing in IBM research and showcased on the press day of the research laboratory in Rüschlikonwants to set out . Together with the Swiss start-up Docdok.health , IBM wants to launch a new method for the management of chronic diseases.


The goal is more contact between the doctor and the patient

Physician and patient should be included equally in the system. On the patient's side, wearables and smartphones could monitor the condition and continuously forward it to the doctor via the cloud. According to IBM, the gaps between the office hours that currently exist can be bridged. The doctor would be able to detect changes early and to intervene where necessary, said Brunschwiler.

Also to the treatment after diagnosis, IBM thought. Similar to Dacadoo's health apps, Docdok.health could coach patients and support behavioral changes. This could happen in the opinion of the IBM researcher with so-called "Digital Triggers".


Thomas Brunschwiler of IBM Research explained the goals of the Docdok.health platform. (Source: Network Media)

Assistance with diagnosis and treatment

Above all, the doctor receives more reliable data about his patient through the platform. In addition, he could reduce the administrative burden and monitor whether the patient is also following his instructions. Central problems of the medical profession such as stress, overwork and routine work could be reduced, promised Brunschwiler.

How Docdok.health could look in practice was demonstrated by Ulrich Mühlner. The CEO of the startup of the same name explained how the contact between patient and doctor could run on the platform and how all the data could be managed on a dashboard.

Mühlner emphasized that the platform developed with IBM should not replace the doctor. The aim is to open a new channel to the patient, to automatically evaluate data and to create a better basis for decisions. This would save doctors time and healthcare costs. Patients offer the prospect of improving the quality of life.


Docdok.health CEO Ulrich Mühlner wants to relieve doctors and healthcare. (Source: Network Media)

Test run with chronic lung disease

IBM and Docdok.health chose COPD as the testbed for the new platform. This chronic lung disease, which manifests itself as a result of coughing and dyspnea, is best managed by Docdok.health, the developers said.

A personal pulmonary function tester could be included in the platform as well as a measuring device for air quality and a fitness tracker. The hub for Docdok.health is the smartphone, whose sensors would also be used. For example with an app that measures how much the patient coughs at night. By photographing his ejection with the cell phone camera, the doctor can also recognize and respond to changes faster.

That the doctor in this stream of data does not go down, but IBM's image and sound recognition. Despite this digital support, the question remains whether a system like Docdok.health can really save money and time.

Yes, said Brunschwiler. That would have shown tests. Whether physicians and patients see themselves online more often than in practice in the future, but also depends on the health insurance. With a research project at the Zurich University Hospital named "Cair", the system is now to prove its efficiency.