Legal Bases for Medical Supervision via Mobile Telecommunications in Japan

Legal Bases for Medical Supervision via Mobile Telecommunications in Japan

Hiroshi Juzoji (Tokai University School of Medicine, Japan)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/jehmc.2012010103
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This paper discusses the legal basis for mobile telecommunications-based medical supervision in Japan and bulletin from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. According to Article 44 of the Emergency Life-Saving Technician’s Act, an emergency technician shall not perform certain emergency medical procedures unless specifically authorized to do so by a medical practitioner. Actual conditions make these requirements unwieldy to put into practice. When requested to provide medical control in response to an ambulance call, a licensed physician has no choice but to allow the emergency technician to administer medical care. These circumstances expose medical practitioners to significant legal risks and societal ramifications. Is a mobile telecommunications environment characterized by insufficient information satisfactory for the medical care needed in ambulances? This paper discusses such medical care and its legal ramifications, including: how to implement such medical care under Article 21 of the Basic Act on Establishing a Networked Society Based on Advanced Information and Telecommunications. The Japanese government is obligated to provide citizens with broadband telecommunication lines in the near future to enable the smooth implementation of medical control over medical supervision provided in ambulances.
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2. Background

2.1. The Four T’s of Emergency Medical Treatment

Four factors in medical treatment—the four T’s—significantly affect patient prognosis:

  • Telecommunication

  • Transportation

  • Triage

  • Early Treatment

Emergency medical treatment can proceed smoothly only when broadband mobile telecommunications, ambulances, triage, and early treatment work effectively and in concert. Effective early treatment improves patient prognosis and reduces medical costs. For the past 20 years, lots of experimental and practical operation have been reported and published in the field of ambulatory applications (Preston, 1995; Ricci, Caputo, & Amour, 2003; Ellis & Mayrose, 2003; Tachakra, Wang, & Robert, 2003; Meystre, 2005; Tang, Johnson, & Douglas, 2006; Sibert, Ricci, & Caputo, 2008; Su, Ma, & Chow-In Ko, 2008; Pan, Cusack, & Hook, 2008; LaMonte, Bahouth, & Xiao, 2008; Belala, Issa, & Gregoire, 2008; Nakajima & Tomioka, 2009; Hsieh, Lin, & Wu, 2010; Costa, Rodrigues, & Reis, 2010; Lee, Kim, & Lee, 2011; Kim, Lee, & Kim, 2011).

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