Video link aids ill in ru­ral ar­eas

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By SHAN JUAN shan­juan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Liu Mei­hua used to take a seven-hour bus ride and wait in long lines at Chongqing’s South­west Hos­pi­tal for his monthly checkup af­ter un­der­go­ing liver can­cer surgery in Au­gust.

Now the 65-year-old needs to travel just one hour from his vil­lage in Fengjie county to a clinic where he can talk with his doc­tor over a di­rect video link.

He re­ceives treat­ment from medics in his vil­lage, while spe­cial­ists on­line can check on him and refer him to a large county hos­pi­tal or South­west Hos­pi­tal for fur­ther treat­ment, if nec­es­sary.

The sys­tem Liu uses is a pi­lot med­i­cal plat­form built by the Fengjie county and Chongqing gov­ern­ments along with Alibaba Health. It is the first such sys­tem to link vil­lage clin­ics with large hos­pi­tals.

Af­ter a trial, the plat­form was of­fi­cially launched last week at Zhup­ing vil­lage un­der a public-pri­vate part­ner­ship be­tween Alibaba Health and lo­cal in­sti­tu­tions in­clud­ing the South­west­Hospi­tal, the Fengjie County Peo­ple’s Hos­pi­tal and the Fengjie County Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion Of­fice.

Known lo­cally as the In­ter­net Hos­pi­tal, it links dozens of vil­lages and helps thou­sands of lo­cals like Liu who have fallen into poverty due to a ma­jor ill­ness, said Alibaba Health Vice-Pres­i­dent Ma Li, who re­ferred to the plat­form as In­ter­net Hos­pi­tal 2.0.

“By con­nect­ing vil­lage doc­tors, county hos­pi­tals and pro­vin­cial hos­pi­tals via the in­ter­net, this plat­form im­proves the ef­fi­ciency of med­i­cal re­source uti­liza­tion, and helps to pro­mote the es­tab­lish­ment and re­fine­ment of a tiered med­i­cal ser­vices sys­tem,” Ma said.

High on the agenda of the coun­try’s health­care re­forms, tiered med­i­cal ser­vices are key to equal ac­cess to proper med­i­cal care and en­hanc­ing over­all ef­fi­ciency, said Jin Xiao­tao, deputy di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

Telemedicine is a boom­ing busi­ness, with sta­tis­tics

This plat­form im­proves the ef­fi­ciency of med­i­cal re­source uti­liza­tion.” vice-pres­i­dent of Alibaba Health

MaLi, from health au­thor­i­ties show­ing more than 20 com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in­ter­net hos­pi­tals.

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

(From left to right) Robin Li, chair­man and CEO of Baidu; Mar­garet Chan, di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the WHO; Baroness Joanna Shields, UK Min­is­ter for In­ter­net Safety and Se­cu­rity; and Zhao Houlin, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of In­ter­na­tional Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Union, share their opin­ions about the ap­pli­ca­tion of In­ter­net Plus in health dur­ing the on­go­ing Ninth Global Con­fer­ence on Health Pro­mo­tion in Shang­hai on Tues­day.

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