July 27th was the final selection day for the second Presidential Hackathon. Congratulations to “Rounding Team,” “Angels of the Aged,” “Judicial Yuan,” “Loan Alert” and “Gov Data Opener,” the five selected outstanding teams that were commended by President Tsai Ing-wen in person.
As the first outstanding team to win the award, the core proposition of “Rounding Team” was “Mazu protecting you at home: Providing individuals and families who choose to stay at home for end-of-life care with a targeted end-of-life care knowledge platform that is easy to learn from, easy to locate, and offers care that reaches its target,” proposed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Collaboration partners include: Hyweb Technology, Corporate Synergy Development Center, National Yang-Ming University, and Liu Yen-ling Home-based Care Center.
Based on verification with domestic and foreign literature, the vast majority of terminally ill patients have needs based on “two do’s and three don’ts”: to be independent, to be at home, not to suffer, not to prolong life in futility, and not to burden one’s family. However, in reality, the vast majority of terminally ill patients have passed away in hospitals.
Taking cancer, ranking top among the top 10 causes of death in Taiwan, as an example, close to 50,000 people die of cancer every year, among whom 80% were in hospitals. Why is this? “Rounding Team” believes that there are currently three problems in home-based care that need to be resolved:
First, the patient and their family members are “uninformed” what changes may occur and what preparations need to be made;
Second, people feel “uneasy” about the quality of home-based care and whether resources available in the neighborhood and community are adequate;
Third, “unexpected” symptoms may develop, resulting in being ill-prepared in responding to emergencies.
In spite of the mounting problems, the team nonetheless successfully demonstrated the possibility for change. Put simply, through data integration and technology application, “Rounding Team” is transforming the exemplary experiences of end-of-life care in Taiwan that rank among the top in the world into a “smart mobile care support platform” that patients and their family members can use at home through mobile phones or computers.
🖧 For patients, they can gain an understanding of developments in their condition in advance and learn the skills of self-care they need to prepare, such as steps to alleviate pain. For family members, they can gain access to diverse sources of information and obtain support services through a single channel. Also, family members who live away from the patients can also gain up-to-date information on the physical changes in the patient through real-time data and image updates.
Of course, the essence of end-of-life care ultimately lies in the people. However powerful the functions of medical knowledge platforms, they cannot operate if they are detached from mutual trust between care providers and patients, or face resistance from the patient or their family members.
Thus, on top of continuing to develop the smart care platforms and specialist artificial intelligence systems proposed by “Rounding Team,” the Ministry of Health and Welfare has also promised to strengthen social dialogue, popularize care knowledge, and achieve the goal of “fully preparing for peaceful end-of-life care and zero gaps in home-based care.”