China’s health authority is urging hospitals in the country to integrate internet use into their medical practices. The central government’s latest guideline vows to uphold the Internet Plus health concept in its medical reform, Wu Guoxiu learned from the National Health Commission, as it held a press conference in a Beijing hospital.
This telemedicine system allows patients and doctors from underdeveloped areas to meet the country’s best doctors, who are often based in major cities such as Beijing.
The connected health program has been in place for years. Now the central government wants it to be developed and extended further.
“The next step is that we’ll promote developing a telemedicine system. It will allow people in remote provinces, counties, and villages, to see the best doctors in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, without stepping out of their home,” says Jiao Yahui, vice-director of the Hospital Management Department of the National Health Commission.
Over half of Beijing’s China-Japan Friendship Hospital’s patients come from areas outside the capital. Motivated by the government, this hospital is creating an online version of itself, which can diagnose certain illnesses and hand out prescriptions.
Lu Qingjun, director of the National Telemedicine and Connected Healthcare Center explains, “For example, if one patient is diagnosed with a common disease at our outpatient departments, they can go back home with a prescription and our doctors can follow their status online. They can also get medicine delivered to their home. Our online hospital will be built on the basis of our telemedicine system.”
For years, China’s medical reform has aimed at improving the quality and efficiency of its medical service, easing the tension caused by an unbalanced distribution of medical resources.
The health authority intends to issue detailed online hospital regulations by May.
The regulation will be the first of its kind, but it’s expected to kick-start a major change in people’s doctor-seeing habits.
China’s Internet Plus health plan points to where the country’s medical reform is heading. It aims to make it more convenient to see doctors at hospitals, or even at home. The health authority and experts expect this to bring big changes to China’s medical sector.