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Healthcare information system melds traditional and modern medicine



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The Guang Dong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in China has implemented a new suite of healthcare information sharing and analytics software. The system, which incorporates Traditional Chinese Medicine and Modern Western Medicine (MWM), is said to be the first of its kind, and is known as CHAS (Clinical and Health Records Analytics and Sharing).

In a press release announcing the launch, IBM reports that it overcame unusual challenges in creating the system because of the huge differences in theory, diagnosis and treatment between the traditional and modern approaches to medicine. IBM says its solution integrates complicated clinical intelligent systems and enables information sharing between Guang Dong Hospital and its four branches. Central to the solution, IBM adds, is a standardized terminology system that enables efficient information sharing across different departments of the hospital and, in the future, to other healthcare facilities outside the hospital.

Lv Yubo, president of Guang Dong Hospital of TCM, says, "We are committed to maintaining our exacting standards, and the CHAS technology is helping us do just that by moving us away from siloed, antiquated systems in favor of integrated, patient-centered processes."

By integrating health records that combine Eastern and Western medicine into one system and applying sophisticated analytics, CHAS can also provide a way for healthcare practitioners to better understand which treatment plans and techniques from each approach work best for specific medical conditions. That combined information could help practitioners develop personalized treatment plans for patients that include aspects of both approaches to medicine, according to IBM.

CHAS offers the following capabilities for the Guang Dong healthcare system:

  • It provides a reference implementation of an open, standards-based, interoperable electronic medical records solution.
  • It helps standardize medical records to streamline healthcare analytics for medical research and quality assurance.
  • It enables improvements in the efficiency of clinical services.
  • It lowers the technical barriers of adopting internationally recognized healthcare standards. Scientists at IBM’s research laboratories in China and the United States worked with China’s Ministry of Health to design and launch the system, which also includes IBM’s advanced semantics technology. That capability enables the system to understand and analyze the scientific meaning of specific terms even when other terms are used in patient records.