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Kitahara Neurosurgical Institute

AI supports hospital management reforms as the goal to be achieved by the Kitahara Neurosurgical Institute.

In the healthcare field, financial and human resource shortages will become more serious because of the super-aging society and the declining birthrate. The quality of healthcare and operational efficiency should be improved in order to respond to the increase in the number of patients and the diverse needs of those patients with limited human and financial resources.

Mr. Shigemi Kitahara, president of the Kitahara Neurosurgical Institute, aims to transform the hospital into a digital hospital*1 that enhances the quality of healthcare and promotes operational efficiency by redefining healthcare as an integrated life industry related to overall life, enabling full digitalization of the hospital, and providing appropriate support for diagnosis and treatment using AI-based data.

As a co-creation partner in the healthcare reforms advanced by Mr. Kitahara, NEC carries out joint research on AI to promote hospital management more efficiently. In this joint research, NEC worked together with hospital personnel at Kitahara International Hospital (an acute care hospital operated by the Kitahara Neurosurgical Institute) and identified areas in need of improvement in the medical field. Then, for the purpose of shortening the hospitalization period, which affects the management of the hospital, we analyzed the factors that prevent discharge using past electronic medical records and then worked to resolve two issues where significant improvements could be expected.

The first is support for the early discharge of inpatients. Thorough support of discharge planning where the prediction of the prognosis commences immediately after hospitalization enables the early discharge of patients and encourages patients to return to daily activities as soon as possible. The system promotes greater efficiency in vacating hospital beds for other patients requiring hospitalization.

The second issue is the detection of signs of inpatient problem behavior (disturbing behavior). Disturbing behavior can lead to falls from the bed, removal of intravenous (IV) tubes, and other actions. In some cases, the behavior can be a factor leading to delayed discharge and medical accidents. It is possible to recognize and respond to changes in the patient’s condition before the behavior becomes serious by detecting signs of disturbing behavior through the monitoring of pulse and body temperature and then notifying nurses as needed.

We too often depend on the experience of skilled staff to recognize and respond to such situations; however, the use of AI lets even inexperienced staff handle such situations. Therefore, we strive to both reduce the burden on healthcare professionals and promote greater efficiency in hospital management by providing support using AI.

As the next step in healthcare reforms, we plan to resolve the challenges facing recovery phase hospitals in the new building of the Kitahara Rehabilitation Hospital (located in Hachioji City, Tokyo), which will be open in December 2017. As a co-creation partner in healthcare reforms, NEC strives to establish a system that supports the future of healthcare and people through advances in leading-edge ICT, such as AI and IoT.

*1 A fully digitalized hospital is equipped with cameras and sensors to enhance the quality of healthcare and promote operational efficiency through appropriate diagnosis and treatment using AI. In the future, Kitahara Neurosurgical Institute will develop a system that the facility grasps the conditions of each patient and automatically and appropriately stimulates the senses of sight, smell, and touch to treat and care for patients.