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Aichi Medical University Hospital has partnered with an IT firm to develop software designed to better train air ambulance crews.

The software, developed by Nagoya-based Core Corp. Chubu Company, will feature footage of doctors and nurses providing emergency care aboard air ambulances, or “doctor helicopters.”

It will be filmed using smartphone cameras, with the result shared with other hospitals in Japan that use the rapid-response service.

The hospital, in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, deployed its helicopter 317 times last year. But locations for landing and patients’ conditions were never the same, requiring a high degree of judgment for different situations.

Under the current system for training air ambulance staff, doctors and nurses use dolls rather than real patients. Also, helicopters are not always deployed when trainee medics are on standby, meaning they rarely gain adequate experience.

Recognizing this, the Nagoya Chamber of Commerce and Industry invited engineering firms to the hospital in January to make presentations.

At the event, Kumiko Sakata, chief nurse of the ICU at the hospital’s advanced critical care center, asked whether they could create teaching materials to let users simulate activities in a helicopter.

Core Corporation Chubu Company responded to the request, started developing the system at the end of last year and completed it in March at a cost of ¥10 million.

The smartphone will be attached to the front of a flight suit worn by doctors and nurses aboard an air ambulance, with the camera operated remotely from a control room at the hospital.

The videos, which are filmed close to their line of sight, are sent and stored on a server in the hospital in real time.

“We were very careful about privacy issues and made sure the footage does not remain in the smartphone, so the data will not be leaked even if someone loses the phone,” said Hiroyuki Unno, head of the company’s business solutions section.

“By using these videos, one person’s experience can be shared with many other staff and that will help increase the quality of our medical care, which will in turn lead to saving more patients,” said Tsuguaki Terashima, a helicopter emergency doctor.

Filming began last month and the hospital is now able to track the responses in real time.

“We get other benefits from the real-time system, such as enabling staff at the hospital to give instructions and prepare to receive patients,” Terashima said.

The videos are processed to protect the privacy of those filmed before being turned into learning material.

The findings of the software training program will be presented in a meeting organized by the Japanese Society for Aeromedical Services in Saitama Prefecture in October, with the aim of expanding the use of the system to some 50 hospitals nationwide.

This section, appearing Tuesdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published on May 29.

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