Patient-assist app is just what the doctor ordered

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Patient-assist app is just what the doctor ordered

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A patient tries out a tablet PC next to her bed at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, where a new app in cooperation with SK Telecom has improved the patient experience. Provided by the hospital

When being diagnosed at the doctor’s office at general hospitals, it’s not easy to understand the professional terms tossed around and the nurses always seem busy.

The building can seem like a maze and finding the right room is never easy. It’s common to wait endlessly for documents.

Koreans are more accustomed to visiting general hospitals than smaller neighborhood private practices.

But such inconveniences have made seeing the doctor an unpleasant experience that can take the better part of a day.

But the situation is different at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital in Gyeonggi. The hospital since May has offered a smart solution in partnership with SK Telecom.

Seoul National University Bundang Hospital has been aiming at becoming the world’s first and leading hospital on converging medical services with information communication technology (ICT).

The ICT development is one of the key campaign by the Park Geun-hye administration to find a new driving force for Korea’s economy.

The government is actually pushing to implement a system called U-Healthcare where patients could get medical check-ups without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

“Many people would agree [on the remote medical check-up] if we implement the system for patients living in areas with no nearby medical services,” Park said in May.

The smart solution at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital includes a hospital app that helps users find the primary doctor in each department and offers a guide that even identifies appropriate tests for specific symptoms.

Selecting a department produces a three-dimensional map showing the location of the doctor’s office and a navigation system kicks in.

“When people visit a hospital for the first time, they can easily get lost,” said Hwang Hee, an official at the hospital. “And many of them waste time trying to find the right room.”

Yook Tae-seo, who heads the new business department at SK Telecom, said the app navigation guide accurately locates the users’ destinations.

Another smart solution jointly developed by the hospital and SK Telecom is called “bedside station.”

Next to a patient’s bed is a tablet PC that automatically uploads information tailored to the patient’s condition through a radio frequency identification tag on the screen. The tablet reports the time of doctors’ rounds, test schedules and nurse visits.

The app also conveys information about the patients’ medication. Patients can also call for a nurse via the bedside tablet PC as well as order meals.

The app also displays and updates billing information.

The hospital says patients are highly satisfied with the app, which has been in use for two months.

“Some of our younger patients even have their arms wrapped around the tablet PC when they fall asleep,” said a doctor.


BY lee ho-jeong, ko ran [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]
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