Severance Hospital, a teaching hospital in South Korea run by Yonsei University, this week introduced its telemedicine application called My Severance, which enables doctors to conduct ward visits to in-patients without being physically in the room.
The teleconsultation service is for patients staying in the hospital for care. Patients will be advised to download the application, which automatically send alerts to patients at the time of their reservations with doctors.
Traditionally, in-person hospital ward rounds have healthcare providers moving from bed to bed to check on patients. With the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, however, the hospital is changing this status quo with its new non-face-to-face care program for in-patients to reduce the risk of virus infection.
According to the hospital, in-patients have given the telemedicine program a good feedback during the trial period.
“Teleconsultations offer a safer way to meet patients and guide their diagnosis and treatments during the pandemic. It also saves time for doctors doing their ward rounds, allowing them to spend more time with more patients,” a hospital spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Severance Hospital is using other online platforms such as Microsoft Teams for their multidisciplinary care teams, allowing groups of professionals from different departments to work together and deliver a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan. The hospital also uses Microsoft Teams to run online conferences among its medical workers.
A pioneer in robotic surgery
Established in 1885, Severance Hospital is the first Western-style medical facility in South Korea, and since then has been in the forefront of providing advanced medical care in South Korea.
It performs sophisticated surgeries using high-resolution 3D robotic images that help correct slight movements of the surgeon’s hands. In 2018, the hospital marked a milestone by being first to reach 20,000 robot surgeries in the world.
Severance Hospital has the world's highest record of 4,000 robotic prostatectomies with an extraperitoneal approach to minimising organ damage.
In renal cancer cases, which accompany a high risk of massive bleeding during the operation, Severance performed a single-incision robotic surgery for the first time in Korea based on its experience with microinvasive methods before introducing robotic surgery.
The hospital has recently been using the da Vinci single port system (SP) to perform partial nephrectomy more safely and conveniently with minimal incisions.
Severance Hospital introduced da Vinci SP in 2018, the first single-port robotic system in Korea, to perform complicated reconstructive surgeries, including urethroplasty, ureteroneocystostomy, and implantation of neobladder made of the small intestine. The surgery only left a two-centimetre scar on the patient's belly button.
Last year, the hospital accomplished 10,000 robotic surgeries in urology, marking the first such case in South Korea and Asia and the second in the world.