An Investigation on Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine with Informatics

  • Catherine Han LinEmail author
  • Angela Wei Hong Yang
  • David Phillips
  • Nilmini Wickramasinghe
Part of the Healthcare Delivery in the Information Age book series (Healthcare Delivery Inform. Age)


Today, in many western countries, acceptance of alternate forms of healthcare such as Chinese medicine (CM) is increasing. In fact, countries such as Australia, Canada, and England are going so far as to set regulations, education, and standards regarding the practice of CM in these respective countries. Further, we can see the integration between western and Chinese medicine delivery of care and treatments in many instances. Information systems and information technology (IS/IT) can be a key enabler in assisting this integration. The following study examines aspects of such integrations using IS/IT and identifies that CM IS/IT is more likely to succeed when there is synthesis between key aspects of the unique environment and user requirements. This perspective is supported theoretically by adapting Churchman’s inquiring systems to frame CM as a combination of Hegelian and Kantian inquiring systems with the support of Singerian, Lockean, and Leibnizian inquiring systems and knowledge management features. Based on this, the study then proposes a new design for a patient management system in clinics and hospitals.


Healthcare informatics Clinic management system Inquiring systems Knowledge management systems Information systems Information technology 


  1. AHPRA, C. (2014). Chinese medicine regulation at work in Australia, 2013/14. Retrieved from
  2. Bing, Z., & Hongcai, W. (2010). Basic theories of traditional Chinese medicine. London: Singing Dragon.Google Scholar
  3. Busato, A., Eichenberger, R., & Kunzi, B. (2006). Extent and structure of health insurance expenditures for complementary and alternative medicine in Swiss primary care. BMC Health Services Research, 6, 132. Scholar
  4. Chan, E., Tan, M., Xin, J., Sudarsanam, S., & Johnson, D. E. (2010). Interactions between traditional Chinese medicines and Western therapeutics. Current Opinion in Drug Discovery & Development, 13(1), 50–65.Google Scholar
  5. Chan, K., Hu, X.-Y., Razmovski-Naumovski, V., & Robinson, N. (2015). Challenges and opportunities of integrating traditional Chinese medicine into mainstream medicine: A review of the current situation. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 7(1), 67–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chau, A. C., Cheung, R. T., Jiang, X., Au-Yeung, P. K., & Li, L. S. (2009). Increased brain activation in motor cortex after acupuncture treatment for motor recovery in chronic stroke patients. The Open Rehabilitation Journal, 2, 89–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chau, C. F., & Wu, S. H. (2006). The development of regulations of Chinese herbal medicines for both medicinal and food uses. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 17(6), 313–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chu, J. H. K. (2013). Chinese herbal medicine dictionary. Retrieved from
  9. Churchman, C. W. (1971). The design of inquiring systems basic concepts of systems and organization. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  10. CMBA(c). (2012). <CMBA-Continuing-Professional-Development.pdf>.Google Scholar
  11. CMBA(d). (2012). CMBA-guidelines-for-patient-records. Chinese Medicine Board of Australia. Retrieved from
  12. Courtney, J. F., Haynes, J. D., & Paradice, D. B. (2005). Inquiring organizations: Moving from knowledge management to wisdom. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Deng, K., Liu, D., Gao, S., & Geng, Z. (2005). Structural learning of graphical models and its applications to traditional Chinese medicine. In Fuzzy systems and knowledge discovery (pp. 362–367). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ehrman, T. M., Barlow, D. J., & Hylands, P. J. (2007). Phytochemical databases of Chinese herbal constituents and bioactive plant compounds with known target specificities. Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, 47(2), 254–263.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Fan, T.-P., Deal, G., Koo, H.-L., Rees, D., Sun, H., Chen, S., et al. (2012). Future development of global regulations of Chinese herbal products. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 140(3), 568–586.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Fang, X., Shao, L., Zhang, H., & Wang, S. (2005). CHMIS-C: A comprehensive herbal medicine information system for cancer. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 48(5), 1481–1488.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Ferlie, E., Crilly, T., Jashapara, A., & Peckham, A. (2012). Knowledge mobilisation in healthcare: A critical review of health sector and generic management literature. Social Science & Medicine, 74(8), 1297–1304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Flick, U. (2009). An introduction to qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Hall, D. J., & Croasdell, D. (2005). Inquiring organizations: An organizational form perspective. Calgary, AB: Idea Group.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. He, X., Huang, W., Lu, M., Xue, W., & Lu, Y. (2006). Research and application of data mining in individual diagnosis and treatment based on Chinese traditional medicine. Paper presented at the GrC.Google Scholar
  21. Holmes, D. (2011). UK moves to ensure “access to unlicensed herbal medicines”. The Lancet, 377(9776), 1479–1480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Huang, M.-J., & Chen, M.-Y. (2007). Integrated design of the intelligent web-based Chinese medical diagnostic system (CMDS)–systematic development for digestive health. Expert Systems with Applications, 32(2), 658–673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lam, C. F., Leung, K. S., Heng, P. A., Lim, C. E., & Wong, F. W. (2012). Chinese acupuncture expert system (CAES)-a useful tool to practice and learn medical acupuncture. Journal of Medical Systems, 36(3), 1883–1890. Scholar
  24. Lewis, S. (2015). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Health Promotion Practice, 16(4), 473–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Li, C., Tang, C., Peng, J., Hu, J., Zeng, L., Yin, X., et al. (2004). TCMiner: A high performance data mining system for multi-dimensional data analysis of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions. In Conceptual modeling for advanced application domains (pp. 246–257). Basel: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Liao, S.-H. (2003). Knowledge management technologies and applications—Literature review from 1995 to 2002. Expert Systems with Applications, 25(2), 155–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lin, C. H., Wei, A., Yang, H., Pittayachawan, S., Vogel, D., & Wickramasinghe, N. (2015a). Inquiring knowledge management systems–A Chinese medicine perspective. Paper presented at the System Sciences (HICSS), 2015 48th Hawaii International Conference on.Google Scholar
  28. Lin, C. H., Yang, A. W. H., Pittayachawan, S., & Wickramasinghe, N. (2015b). An analysis on the utilisation of health information technology to support clinical operation of Chinese medicine. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.Google Scholar
  29. Lu, A.-P., Jia, H.-W., Xiao, C., & Lu, Q.-P. (2004). Theory of traditional Chinese medicine and therapeutic method of diseases. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 10(13), 1854–1856.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  30. Lukman, S., He, Y., & Hui, S. C. (2007). Computational methods for traditional Chinese medicine: A survey. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, 88(3), 283–294. Scholar
  31. Maier, R., & Hädrich, T. (2011). Knowledge management systems. In D. Schwartz & D. Te’eni (Eds.), Encyclopedia of knowledge management (2nd ed., pp. 779–790). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.Google Scholar
  32. Mason, R. O., & Mitroff, I. I. (1973). A program for research on management information systems. Management Science, 19(5), 475–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Molassiotis, A., Fernadez-Ortega, P., Pud, D., Ozden, G., Scott, J. A., Panteli, V., et al. (2005). Use of complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients: A European survey. Annals of Oncology, 16(4), 655–663.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Morr, C. E. (2010). Health care virtual communities: Challenges and opportunities. In M. M. Cruz-Cunha, A. J. Tavares, & R. J. Simoes (Eds.), Handbook of research on developments in e-health and telemedicine: Technological and social perspectives (pp. 278–298). Hershey, PA: Medical Information Science Reference.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nonaka, I., Reinmoeller, P., & Senoo, D. (1998). The ‘ART’ of knowledge: Systems to capitalize on market knowledge. European Management Journal, 16(6), 673–684.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Okma, K. G., Cheng, T.-M., Chinitz, D., Crivelli, L., Lim, M.-K., Maarse, H., & Labra, M. E. (2010). Six countries, six health reform models? Health care reform in Chile, Israel, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan and The Netherlands. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 12(1–2), 75–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Parrish, J. L., Jr., & Courtney, J. F. (2012). Inquiring systems: Theoretical foundations for current and future information systems. In Information systems theory (pp. 387–396). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Phuong, N. H., & Kreinovich, V. (2001). Fuzzy logic and its applications in medicine. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 62(2), 165–173.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Qiao, X., Hou, T., Zhang, W., Guo, S., & Xu, X. (2002). A 3D structure database of components from Chinese traditional medicinal herbs. Journal of Chemical Information and Computer Sciences, 42(3), 481–489.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Savery, J. R. (2015). Overview of problem-based learning: Definitions and distinctions. In Essential readings in problem-based learning: Exploring and extending the legacy of Howard S. Barrows (pp. 5–15). West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.Google Scholar
  41. TCM-ID. (2015). Traditional Chinese medicine information database. Singapore: Department of Computational Science, National University of Singapore. Scholar
  42. Vaishnavi, V. K., & Kuechler, W. (2015). Design science research methods and patterns: Innovating information and communication technology. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Venkatesh, V., Brown, S. A., & Bala, H. (2013). Bridging the qualitative-quantitative divide: Guidelines for conducting mixed methods research in information systems. MIS Quarterly, 37(1), 21–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. von Alan, R. H., March, S. T., Park, J., & Ram, S. (2004). Design science in information systems research. MIS Quarterly, 28(1), 75–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wang, X., Qu, H., Liu, P., & Cheng, Y. (2004). A self-learning expert system for diagnosis in traditional Chinese medicine. Expert Systems with Applications, 26(4), 557–566. Scholar
  46. Wang, X., Sun, H., Zhang, A., Sun, W., Wang, P., & Wang, Z. (2011). Potential role of metabolomics approaches in the area of traditional Chinese medicine: As pillars of the bridge between Chinese and Western medicine. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 55(5), 859–868.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. WHO. (2013). WHO traditional medicine strategy: 2014–2023. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  48. Wickramasinghe, N. (2005). The phenomenon of duality: A key to facilitate the transition from knowledge management to wisdom for inquiring organizations. In J. Courtney, J. Haynes, & D. Paradice (Eds.), Inquiring organizations: Moving from knowledge management to wisdom (pp. 272–315). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Xue, Y., Liang, H., Boulton, W. R., & Snyder, C. A. (2005). ERP implementation failures in China: Case studies with implications for ERP vendors. International Journal of Production Economics, 97(3), 279–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Yang, A. W., Allan, G., Li, C. G., & Xue, C. C. (2009). Effective application of knowledge management in evidence-based Chinese medicine: A case study. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 6(3), 393–398. Scholar
  51. Yin, R. K. (1999). Enhancing the quality of case studies in health services research. Health Services Research, 34(5 Pt 2), 1209.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  52. Yin, R. K. (2013). Case study research: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications.Google Scholar
  53. Zhao, Y., Tsutsui, T., Endo, A., Minato, K., & Takahashi, T. (1994). Design and development of an expert system to assist diagnosis and treatment of chronic hepatitis using traditional Chinese medicine. Informatics for Health and Social Care, 19(1), 37–45.Google Scholar
  54. Zhou, X., Liu, B., & Wu, Z. (2005). Text mining for clinical Chinese herbal medical knowledge discovery. In Discovery science (pp. 396–398). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Zhu, B., & Wang, H. (2011). Basic theories of traditional Chinese medicine. London: Singing Dragon.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Han Lin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Angela Wei Hong Yang
    • 2
  • David Phillips
    • 1
  • Nilmini Wickramasinghe
    • 1
  1. 1.Deakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  2. 2.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations