Diagnostic imaging via Join improves the quality of regional medical care

Nobuyoshi Azuma, M.D.
Professor and Chairman
Department of Vascular Surgery
Asahikawa Medical University
Hokkaido, Japan

“Flying helicopters across Hokkaido can be difficult due to the snow. In such cases, patients are transferred by land. It’s roughly two or three hours away by ambulance.

Most local doctors in Hokkaido are not specialists. We prepare using the information we receive from those doctors, but are occasionally surprised by the patient’s condition when they arrive.

Even without various specialists, we can perform CT and MRI scans at community hospitals. The surgical team can prepare and plan for operations while using the shared high-quality and granular medical images. All specialists involved in surgical operations, such as surgeons, anesthesiologists, operating room nurses, and clinical engineers, can access and analyze the images, as well as share their expert opinion amongst the team. Through this, we now have enough time to appropriately prepare, even when an emergency patient is being transferred to the hospital. With Allm’s solutions, we have reduced the patient arrival to surgery by more than half.

The dynamic seasonal temperature changes in Hokkaido lead to a high number of acute vascular disease patients. For instance, the rapid increase in blood pressure during colder seasons, cause aneurysms to rupture. Here is an example image of a patient with such a case. The aneurysm is inflated and there’s blood seeping from it. In a situation like this, operations must be performed as soon as possible, and time becomes very critical. We can measure quickly and precisely see which artificial blood vessel size may be needed for this patient. Now that we can prepare the artificial blood vessels, blood transfusion, and the operation room, and we can start the surgery as soon as the patient arrives. Angiography and ultrasound images, and even blood test data can be pre-shared from the transferring hospital, we can determine the course of treatment by synthesizing various information. Join is an important clinical decision making tool as it enables quick consultation by specialists.

Recently, we have expanded Join usage to regional consultation network supporting pediatrists. Join is a very effective tool when there are a limited number of specialists. Join’s strengths lie in its ability to rapidly share information with specialists who are in remote areas to discuss treatment options with them.”