Towards "self-initiated medical care"; web-based medical interviewing leads to better medical care.
Maebashi Minami Ophthalmology
Maebashi Minami Ophthalmology is an ophthalmology clinic located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. Two ophthalmologists provide evidence-based, safe, and effective custom-made medical care for each patient.
We spoke with Dr. Itakura, the director of the clinic, about the background to the introduction of the Melp Web-based Interview System and how it is uniquely utilized.
- What made you decide to introduce Melp?
When we started our business, we had been carefully considering how to promote safe and effective use of ICT in an era that is rapidly changing into a smart society. It was during this process that we came across Melp.
How did you feel when you received the Melp demonstration?
In order to realize custom-made medicine, the interview, which is the entrance to the medicine, is very important. I thought that the web-based medical interview, which can be entered anytime, anywhere at the patient's own pace, was very attractive.
When you actually started using Melp, how did you find it easy to use?
By asking patients to fill out the web medical questionnaire before coming to the hospital, we can share the contents in real time, which leads to accurate diagnosis and treatment. Depending on the content, we may contact the patient to inquire about more detailed symptoms or give the staff instructions for tests in advance.
With paper questionnaires, we have to retype the questionnaire into the medical record, but with Melp, we just copy and paste it, which saves a lot of time.
- I know that there are many elderly people in ophthalmology, how did you find the web-based medical questionnaire to be compatible?
Ophthalmology has many elderly patients, so we were concerned about whether they would accept the web-based questionnaire. After actually operating the system, we feel that there is a correlation between age and the number of people who can cooperate with the input. However, there seems to be an increase in the number of elderly people who use smartphones and computers, and we have had patients in their 70s tell us, "This is easy and convenient. .
In addition, since it is possible to input data at home, family members sometimes input data on behalf of the patient. Even if they are not able to accompany the patient to the doctor's appointment, they can also input their opinions on what they would like to ask the doctor, which leads to better communication with the family.
On the other hand, some people, regardless of age, prefer to use paper questionnaires, some find web input troublesome, and some are concerned about the protection of personal information by using the Internet.
Well, I see. Incidentally, how do you operate the system for those who seem to have difficulty filling out the web-based medical questionnaire?
It is important to think about how to operate from the patient's point of view. For those who do not wish to use the web-based questionnaire, we have created a paper questionnaire, and we use both paper questionnaires and melp.
Initially, a staff member would accompany the patient and input the questionnaire on behalf of the patient, but this was not efficient due to the need to prepare a private room to protect personal information, so we switched to using the paper questionnaire.
However, there were cases where we forgot to check some items in the paper questionnaire. For example, even if there were no items checked, when we asked the patient in detail during the examination, there was a case where the patient actually had a history of asthma.
Well, that's true. I think there are some basic questions in the paper questionnaire, but does that mean there are cases where patients do not fill them out?
In the case of Melp, the questions are asked one by one in a chat format, and the required fields must be filled in to proceed, so I think there is less chance of missing answers.
It is a big advantage to be able to share information about pregnant women, breastfeeding, allergies, and medical history among the staff without missing anything.
How do you inform patients about the web-based questionnaire?
When they call for an appointment, we tell them, "If possible, please help us by filling out the questionnaire using the questionnaire input button on our website.
Please let us know if there are any unique ideas you have for using Melp.
We make it available on our work mobile and on all computers in the hospital.
When a web inquiry comes in, our staff checks the electronic medical record and if the patient does not have an appointment, we contact them to confirm the appointment.
We have included an insurance card upload item in the initial consultation questionnaire, so that new patients can be registered in advance in the electronic medical record, which saves time.
Would you please tell us how to improve the Melp?
Questions progress in the chat, but we have heard that the burden is that if you try to change the answer to the first question, you have to re-answer the questions below it. (Currently under development)
Another feature is the ability to upload your insurance card, but when you are asked to "upload your insurance card," it sometimes seems like a difficult operation. "It might be easier to say, "Please take a picture of your insurance card and press this button.
Thank you, we will take care of the development. Do you have any last words for us?
I am glad that we introduced Melp.
I feel that the biggest advantage is that we can grasp the patient's information in detail in advance. During the morning meeting, we can send the information to the staff about the first patients, so that we can guide them smoothly.
In addition, since patients can click on the web questionnaire button on the clinic's website, there are more opportunities for patients to look at the website, which leads to the provision of information other than the questionnaire.