Fellowship Training Program

European Union RISE DREAM Aging and Technology Secondment in University of Trento, Italy

John Michael T. Mendoza, MD

The University of the Philippines - Institute of Aging in collaboration with the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science – University of Trento, aims to apply current technology in the field of Medicine to help improve healthcare services in the adult and elderly patient. And I was privileged to be a part of this mission when I was accepted to have my secondment in Italy from November 2018 until January 2019, as part of the European Union RISE DREAM Aging and Technology Exchange Program.

One of the main problems that needs to be addressed in the healthcare service delivery, especially in most developing countries, is the limited number of medical practitioners attending to the growing number of patients. The doctor must use his time in the clinic more efficiently, to be able to attend to more patients and deliver better services. Studies have shown that patient interview and documentation consume the most time during a clinic visit. Hence, this led the team to develop a computer-assisted history taking system that can be used by doctors to increase their productivity.

The computer-assisted history taking system will enable clinicians to attend to more important matters in providing better patient care like patient education, rather than spending most of his time collecting and documenting patient data. The system can also be used at home or in remote areas where a device and an internet is available, therefore, decreasing the patient’s time waiting in line to be seen by a doctor. This system will not replace the history taking of medical practitioners but rather it will augment it and help in their clinical judgment. Future plans for the system also include using the Filipino language to reach more patients in the country.

During my secondment in Italy, I was able to interact with different people that have different backgrounds namely, engineers, psychologists, nurses, and Information Technology experts. I learned that it is important that we continue to collaborate with experts in different fields both locally and internationally and strive to develop things that will be helpful in the medical field. Technology can augment our capabilities as clinicians and help us improve our delivery of patient services.