At first sight, modern Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine might seem to be poles apart particularly when it comes to technology. So what hope for a western IT supplier in China's TCM sector?
Yet IBM has scored a major coup winning a contract to install an electronic patient record (EPR) system in the Guangdong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is the largest hospital in southern China.
By integrating health records that combine Western and Chinese medicine into one standardised system and applying sophisticated analytics, IBM claims its solution helps healthcare practitioners more deeply understand which treatment plans and techniques from each approach work best for specific diseases and medical conditions.
Eventually, this aggregated information could help practitioners develop highly personalised treatment plans for patients that incorporate aspects of both approaches, IBM argues.
Due to the vast differences in theory, diagnosis and treatment between these two approaches to medicine, IBM faced considerable challenges in creating intelligent systems capable of integrating complex clinical data and sharing information between the hospital's HQ and its four branch facilities.
The key to the system is a standardised terminology that enables efficient sharing of information across different departments of the hospital and, eventually, outside of the hospital to other healthcare facilities.
More in this IBM press release.