Responding to the public health situation brought about by the novel coronavirus (the "Wuhan virus"), NCKU president Jenny Huey-Jen Su is leading the university and its affiliated hospital as they bring together several smart healthcare technologies to build the Smart Healthcare Clinical Decision Support System, which raises the efficiency of clinical inspection by 5 to 6 times. Originally, a high-risk patient would have to go through a 2.5 hour process, from the inspection station to the doctor's decision at the hospital; but with the new system, that patient can complete the process in just 30 minutes. And the system reduces the risk of cross-infection among hospital personnel and the number of healthcare personnel needed for the inspection. At the same time, the interdisciplinary team at NCKU also uses a "smart-monitoring wristband" to help implement at-home quarantine policy. NCKU President Su looks forward to introducing new possibilities for worldwide disease prevention with NCKU's 30-minute smart healthcare system. NCKU College of Medicine Dean Shan Yan-Shen and NCKU Hospital Superintendent Shen Meng-Ru stated that when the virus began to spread, NCKU and NCKU Hospital mobilized healthcare professionals in the fight against the virus, and that this smart healthcare system will make the inspection process faster and more reliable.
The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has long supported NCKU's development of smart healthcare. MOST Deputy Minister Dar-Bin Shieh said that NCKU, while being well-versed in the latest trends in technology, is also very human-oriented and thorough in its implementation, meaning that it can produce substantial results for the public good.
The Smart Healthcare Clinical Decision Support System incorporates automated medical records and AI-assisted readings of chest radiographs to find inflammation in the lungs at the front-end, as well as the latest epidemiological developments provided daily by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which are updated into the clinical decision. All of this greatly improves response and decisions at the inspection and prevention stages at NCKU Hospital.
NCKU is also implementing smart monitoring for NCKU students who are in at-home quarantine. By wearing the smart-monitoring wristband developed by the interdisciplinary team, the quarantined student can track body temperature and heart rate to produce a predictive symptom indicator. When the wearer's temperature rises, the app connected to the device can alert the wearer to seek medical attention. Currently these wristbands are collected each week, and the data are collated by personnel and uploaded to the cloud, where they are used for follow-up and tracking. NCKU College of Medicine Dean Shan Yan-Shen said that NCKU has been very thorough in its implementation of at-home quarantine and inspection of the virus, and that NCKU can be dubbed a model for the entire nation.
NCKU Hospital has taken a stance of high alert in the spread of the virus. Even the Chinese New Year holiday was not an excuse for negligence in its preventive duties. Even before the holiday began, NCKU Hospital Superintendent Shen Meng-Ru had mobilized the hospital's three-part Novel Coronavirus Clinical Inspection Station. The first part of the inspection station comprises eight high-standard tents set up outside of the emergency room entrance, forming a front line of prevention against viral infection. In addition, there is an inspection station in a modular building on site to raise the standard of preparation. It can also be used, if the virus become more prevalent, for longer term inspection. Superintendent Shen explained that the tents serve as a "pressure station"—healthcare personnel feel the pressure when patients begin to worry, so the hospital has taken efforts to standardize and quicken the entire process to ease pressure and lower the risk of transmission.
The second part integrates research results from the NCKU AI Innovation Research Center and the Capstone Plan into the capacity of NCKU smart healthcare to automate medical records. Traditional pen-and-paper inputting of data or orally inquiring of the patient's medical history both increase the infection risk of medical personnel due to proximity with patients. Automating medical records allows personnel to enter medical data such as travel history, work history, contact history, and group history into a tablet and upload them to the medical record system. The personnel can then instantly receive relevant data to make a clinical decision. Tablets are disinfected with rubbing alcohol after each use, reducing the risk of cross-infection and raising efficiency of inspection.
Since the threat of the recent viral proliferation began, NCKU and NCKU Hospital have mobilize healthcare professionals in the fight against the virus
The third part introduces AI-assisted detection of inflammation in the lungs. The AI-assisted system for reading chest radiographs to find inflammation in the lungs was developed by the AI team and information team of NCKU Hospital. The hospital's inflammation image data is also incorporated in the system. Currently, the data has been used to assist in the screening of 152 images suspected of presenting the novel coronavirus. The system can provide a sensitivity and accuracy of as high as 80% and 90%, respectively.
The three-part inspection system also incorporates the latest epidemiological developments provided daily by the CDC, such as expansion of quarantined areas. The result is the Smart Healthcare Clinical Decision Support System, which is built into the inspection station computer system, where it relieves some of the personnel's pressure in making clinical decisions when responding to the virus. The entire process—from entering the station to the doctor's decision of whether to report for hospital quarantine or at-home inspection—is shortened from 2.5 hours to just 30 minutes.
Monitoring and prediction are a very important part of the process of preventing the further spread of the virus. Thus, the interdisciplinary team at NCKU and tech company AMobile Intelligent have collaborated in the development of the smart-monitoring wristband. The wristband can continuously monitor the wearer's body temperature and heart rate; before a fever occurs, a rise will manifest in the wearer's shell temperature, which will be detected by the wristband and the wearer can be alerted of the coming fever. Closely monitoring the trend of changes in body temperature and providing timely alerts for abnormalities, the wristband can alert the wearer to take early and appropriate action. Currently, 130 healthcare personnel at NCKU Hospital have volunteered to wear the wristbands. NCKU students who are under at-home quarantine and suspected cases of coronavirus and their families have also donned the wristbands for continuous monitoring of body temperature.
The interdisciplinary team at NCKU uses a "smart-monitoring wristband" to help implement at-home quarantine policy
Responding to this pandemic, the NCKU Hospital, the College of Medicine, College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, College of Sciences, and School of Management have formed an interdisciplinary, cross-departmental, cross-group team which incorporates medical resources and uses science and professional knowledge in the fight against the virus. The automated medical record system was developed by an information engineering team led by Clinical Medicine Research Center director Ping-Yen Liu, and is a seamless system created from their experience with the automated precision medical record system over the past year.
The model of the AI-assisted system for reading chest radiographs for lung inflammation was developed by the information team under the leadership of Tsai Yi-Shan of the Department of Radiology at NCKU Hospital, with active assistance from the team headed by professor Sun Yong-Nian of the College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The teams used the advanced AI-automated chest radiograph reading model for pulmonary tuberculosis developed at the AI Innovation Research Center, to which they incorporated images of lung inflammation from the NCKU Hospital. With the two used in tandem, the overall speed of the reading is maximized.
NCKU brings together several smart healthcare methods in its "Smart Healthcare Clinical Decision Support System"
The smart-monitoring wristband was developed with the support of the Department of Foresight and Innovation Policies under the MOST along with Ke Nai-Ying, head of the Department of Nursing; Ko Wen-Chien, deputy superintendent of NCKU Hospital; Chen Po-Lin, head of the Center for Disease Control; Chuang Kun-Ta, assistant professor of the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering; Kao Hung-Yu, dean of the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering; and Yu-Chen Shu, assistant professor of the Department of Mathematics; as well as collaborating technology companies.