Publications by authors named "Jai Ganesh Udayasankaran"

6 Publications

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Telehealth and the COVID-19 Pandemic: International Perspectives and a Health Systems Framework for Telehealth Implementation to Support Critical Response.

Yearb Med Inform 2021 Apr 21. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Puttaparthi, India.

Objectives: Telehealth implementation is a complex systems-based endeavour. This paper compares telehealth responses to (COrona VIrus Disease 2019) COVID-19 across ten countries to identify lessons learned about the complexity of telehealth during critical response such as in response to a global pandemic. Our overall objective is to develop a health systems-based framework for telehealth implementation to support critical response.

Methods: We sought responses from the members of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) Telehealth Working Group (WG) on their practices and perception of telehealth practices during the times of COVID-19 pandemic in their respective countries. We then analysed their responses to identify six emerging themes that we mapped to the World Health Organization (WHO) model of health systems.

Results: Our analysis identified six emergent themes. (1) Government, legal or regulatory aspects of telehealth; (2) Increase in telehealth capacity and delivery; (3) Regulated and unregulated telehealth; (4) Changes in the uptake and perception of telemedicine; (5) Public engagement in telehealth responses to COVID-19; and (6) Implications for training and education. We discuss these themes and then use them to develop a systems framework for telehealth support in critical response.

Conclusion: COVID-19 has introduced new challenges for telehealth support in times of critical response. Our themes and systems framework extend the WHO systems model and highlight that telemedicine usage in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is complex and multidimensional. Our systems-based framework provides guidance for telehealth implementation as part of health systems response to a global pandemic such as COVID-19.
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April 2021

Global Infectious Disease Surveillance and Case Tracking System for COVID-19: Development Study.

JMIR Med Inform 2020 Dec 22;8(12):e20567. Epub 2020 Dec 22.

Taiwan e-Health Association, Taipei, Taiwan.

Background: COVID-19 has affected more than 180 countries and is the first known pandemic to be caused by a new virus. COVID-19's emergence and rapid spread is a global public health and economic crisis. However, investigations into the disease, patient-tracking mechanisms, and case report transmissions are both labor-intensive and slow.

Objective: The pandemic has overwhelmed health care systems, forcing hospitals and medical facilities to find effective ways to share data. This study aims to design a global infectious disease surveillance and case tracking system that can facilitate the detection and control of COVID-19.

Methods: The International Patient Summary (IPS; an electronic health record that contains essential health care information about a patient) was used. The IPS was designed to support the used case scenario for unplanned cross-border care. The design, scope, utility, and potential for reuse of the IPS for unplanned cross-border care make it suitable for situations like COVID-19. The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources confirmed that IPS data, which includes symptoms, therapies, medications, and laboratory data, can be efficiently transferred and exchanged on the system for easy access by physicians. To protect privacy, patient data are deidentified. All systems are protected by blockchain architecture, including data encryption, validation, and exchange of records.

Results: To achieve worldwide COVID-19 surveillance, a global infectious disease information exchange must be enacted. The COVID-19 surveillance system was designed based on blockchain architecture. The IPS was used to exchange case study information among physicians. After being verified, physicians can upload IPS files and receive IPS data from other global cases. The system includes a daily IPS uploading and enhancement plan, which covers real-time uploading through the interoperation of the clinic system, with the module based on the Open Application Programming Interface architecture. Through the treatment of different cases, drug treatments, and the exchange of treatment results, the disease spread can be controlled, and treatment methods can be funded. In the Infectious Disease Case Tracking module, we can track the moving paths of infectious disease cases. The location information recorded in the blockchain is used to check the locations of different cases. The Case Tracking module was established for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track cases and prevent disease spread.

Conclusions: We created the IPS of infectious diseases for physicians treating patients with COVID-19. Our system can help health authorities respond quickly to the transmission and spread of unknown diseases, and provides a system for information retrieval on disease transmission. In addition, this system can help researchers form trials and analyze data from different countries. A common forum to facilitate the mutual sharing of experiences, best practices, therapies, useful medications, and clinical intervention outcomes from research in various countries could help control an unknown virus. This system could be an effective tool for global collaboration in evidence-based efforts to fight COVID-19.
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December 2020

An Architecture and Management Platform for Blockchain-Based Personal Health Record Exchange: Development and Usability Study.

J Med Internet Res 2020 06 9;22(6):e16748. Epub 2020 Jun 9.

Taiwan e-Health Association, Taipei, Taiwan.

Background: Personal health record (PHR) security, correctness, and protection are essential for health and medical services. Blockchain architecture can provide efficient data retrieval and security requirements. Exchangeable PHRs and the self-management of patient health can offer many benefits to traditional medical services by allowing people to manage their own health records for disease prevention, prediction, and control while reducing resource burdens on the health care infrastructure and improving population health and quality of life.

Objective: This study aimed to build a blockchain-based architecture for an international health record exchange platform to ensure health record confidentiality, integrity, and availability for health management and used Health Level 7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource international standards as the data format that could allow international, cross-institutional, and patient/doctor exchanges of PHRs.

Methods: The PHR architecture in this study comprised 2 main components. The first component was the PHR management platform, on which users could upload PHRs, view their record content, authorize PHR exchanges with doctors or other medical health care providers, and check their block information. When a PHR was uploaded, the hash value of the PHR would be calculated by the SHA-256 algorithm and the PHR would be encrypted by the Rivest-Shamir-Adleman encryption mechanism before being transferred to a secure database. The second component was the blockchain exchange architecture, which was based on Ethereum to create a private chain. Proof of authority, which delivers transactions through a consensus mechanism based on identity, was used for consensus. The hash value was calculated based on the previous hash value, block content, and timestamp by a hash function.

Results: The PHR blockchain architecture constructed in this study is an effective method for the management and utilization of PHRs. The platform has been deployed in Southeast Asian countries via the Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN) and has become the first PHR management platform for cross-region medical data exchange.

Conclusions: Some systems have shown that blockchain technology has great potential for electronic health record applications. This study combined different types of data storage modes to effectively solve the problems of PHR data security, storage, and transmission and proposed a hybrid blockchain and data security approach to enable effective international PHR exchange. By partnering with the AeHIN and making use of the network's regional reach and expert pool, the platform could be deployed and promoted successfully. In the future, the PHR platform could be utilized for the purpose of precision and individual medicine in a cross-country manner because of the platform's provision of a secure and efficient PHR sharing and management architecture, making it a reasonable base for future data collection sources and the data analytics needed for precision medicine.
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June 2020

Ethics in Telehealth: Comparison between Guidelines and Practice-based Experience -the Case for Learning Health Systems.

Yearb Med Inform 2020 Aug 17;29(1):44-50. Epub 2020 Apr 17.

School of Health Sciences, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Objectives: To understand ethical issues within the tele-health domain, specifically how well established macro level telehealth guidelines map with micro level practitioner perspectives.

Methods: We developed four overarching issues to use as a starting point for developing an ethical framework for telehealth. We then reviewed telemedicine ethics guidelines elaborated by the American Medical Association (AMA), the World Medical Association (WMA), and the telehealth component of the Health Professions council of South Africa (HPCSA). We then compared these guidelines with practitioner perspectives to identify the similarities and differences between them. Finally, we generated suggestions to bridge the gap between ethics guidelines and the micro level use of telehealth.

Results: Clear differences emerged between the ethics guidelines and the practitioner perspectives. The main reason for the differences were the different contexts where telehealth was used, for example, variability in international practice and variations in the complexity of patient-provider interactions. Overall, published guidelines largely focus on macro level issues related to technology and maintaining data security in patient-provider interactions while practitioner concern is focused on applying the guidelines to specific micro level contexts.

Conclusions: Ethics guidelines on telehealth have a macro level focus in contrast to the micro level needs of practitioners. Work is needed to close this gap. We recommend that both telehealth practitioners and ethics guideline developers better understand healthcare systems and adopt a learning health system approach that draws upon different contexts of clinical practice, innovative models of care delivery, emergent data and evidence-based outcomes. This would help develop a clearer set of priorities and guidelines for the ethical conduct of telehealth.
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August 2020