national

Japan health workers snub COVID-19 database as Suga seeks to digitize gov't

10 Comments
By Rocky Swift

Japanese health workers are snubbing the government's real-time COVID-19 database introduced in the middle of the pandemic to better deal with outbreaks, pointing to hurdles for the new prime minister's goal of digitizing the government.

Just 40% of medical institutions are using the online database known as HER-SYS that was rolled out in May, a health ministry survey showed this week. Respondents complained that the system is too time consuming to use or duplicated work that they still have to do with paper forms and fax machines.

"There is a big shortage of personnel who can cope with this system," said Satoru Hashimoto, the director of intensive care at the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine.

HER-SYS has a "notorious reputation" for requiring more than 120 fields to be filled in, said Fumie Sakamoto, the infection control manager at St Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo.

Most hospitals in Tokyo or Osaka, the nations' biggest metropolitan areas, still haven't installed it as they have their own systems, she said.

Modernizing Japan's outdated government administration has been a key pledge of new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. He is aiming to create a new digital agency to lead the charge.

The pandemic has spotlighted those problems, with bureaucratic hang-ups slowing stimulus checks to the public and infection data that are often delayed or inconsistent between regions.

Uptake of HER-SYS has been short of the government's goal, health ministry official Hiroshi Umeda told reporters on Wednesday. The ministry undertook the survey as a means to improve the system and has asked a working group of experts to advise on how to do so.

"We are trying to accommodate request to make it more easy and convenient," he said.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

10 Comments
Login to comment

HER-SYS has a "notorious reputation"

Yeah, but I heard HIS-BRO was even worse.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Modernizing Japan's outdated government administration has been a key pledge of new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. He is aiming to create a new digital agency to lead the charge.

IF, and only IF, he manages to drag the bureaucracy into the digital age, he could potentially be seen as the most accomplished PM in Japanese history.

His biggest challenge will be getting the koumin entrenched in analog to wake up.

I hope he at least appoints someone who is computer literate to oversee the operation, only problem with that, is it would have to be someone younger, and the old-farts in government wouldnt listen!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Bad combination from a system that did not balanced information/workload and lack of priority for it to be better implemented after the problems were obvious. Even with the limited amount of detected cases nobody is using it, I can only image what would happen if thousands of cases happened every day.

I would say this is a lesson for the next pandemic, but probably it will be forgotten by that time, even if it is next year.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Let me just say this, every time I go to the city office, or the prefectural office, or almost any government institution, all I see are people or so called robots sitting behind piles of files and folders that never seem to move or get organized, and the higher the stack the more important the staff appears to look, LOL.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

duplicated work that they still have to do with paper forms and fax machines.

Anime land in a nutshell

There is a big shortage of personnel who can cope with this system,

You'll have an easier time hugging a moon bear than leading a J institution through org. change

1 ( +2 / -1 )

HER-SYS has a "notorious reputation" for requiring more than 120 fields to be filled

OMG! Make one system then remove others! Don't just duplicate.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

HER-SYS has a "notorious reputation" for requiring more than 120 fields to be filled in, said Fumie Sakamoto, the infection control manager at St Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo.

I've also noticed how "difficult" many software interfaces are here in Japan. It seems to me that UX design is not being taught in the computer schools.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The solution is simple, create a National healthcare payment system that only functions if done electronically.

So every doctor, hospital, dentist, etc.. will be forced to update to the paperless billing,

Then make this system and integrated part of the billing system if the doctor or hospital does not fill in at least Covid yes or no then no payment regardless if covid related or not

If covid no then the billing system move on, if covid yes then they have to fill in Her-sys before they can complete billing and payment request.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I work in a different field, but my cheap@ss company used some unknown Indian outfit to custom make our database and it brings pain to a new level. Also, guess what? Such custom builds are not regularly updated and are NOT compatible with more off-the-shelf software. Japan is ages behind regarding data and database management in my experience. I think there is a mindset that software has no value as opposed to machinery and they hesitate to budget for it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I know a doctor who can’t understand computers. He used his nurse to translate all computer stuff. When she took leave to have a baby, he was asked to leave our hospital.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites