Internet hospitals combat virus in Guangdong
Major hospitals in South China's Guangdong province have set up internet hospitals from which doctors can give consultations, make diagnoses, offer treatment and facilitate the delivery of medications for patients.
The internet hospitals have helped reduce outpatient services in major hospitals across the province caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, according to a statement released by the Guangdong Provincial Health Commission.
"The internet hospitals that major hospitals have established in Guangdong are equivalent to the addition of six large or medium-sized hospitals," the statement said.
They have played an important role in reducing the risk of cross-infection and have helped control and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in the province, the statement said.
With a population of more than 126 million, Guangdong is China's most populous province.
"Residents can select the internet version of their local hospitals from their homes to obtain health consultations, medical treatment and medicine delivery services after logging in to the Yuejiantong WeChat mini-program," the statement said.
More than 160 major hospitals in the province have established their internet hospitals on Yuejiantong, which was established by Guangdong's health commission, it said.
In addition to general hospitals, specialized hospitals such as those focused on traditional Chinese medicine, women and children, dermatology and tumors have established internet hospitals.
Statistics from the commission showed that internet hospitals in Guangdong had 1.25 million patient visits from Dec 12 to 31, with a daily average of 62,400.
Zhou Qiru, a senior doctor at Guangdong Second Provincial General Hospital, said its internet hospital has played a vital role in fighting against the COVID-19 epidemic in Guangzhou, the provincial capital, in recent months.
Zhou said the internet hospital received more than 1,000 patients a day when Guangzhou's Haizhu district was locked down due to an outbreak in October and November.
More than 80 percent of the internet hospital patients seek medical help to treat chronic diseases, including high blood pressure and diabetes, he said.
To better serve the patients, the internet hospital has upgraded its online platform and medical facilities, and each of the hospital's departments is required to assign at least one doctor to be on duty online to treat patients every day.
Zhou said he believed internet hospitals will continue to develop in the months to come, as both the central and provincial governments have introduced a series of policies and measures to support them.
Major hospitals in Guangzhou have also seen an increase in the number of internet hospital patients recently.
Doctors working for the internet hospital of Zhujiang Hospital of Southern Medical University handled more than 23,620 patient visits in December. More than 500 medical experts and senior doctors from 50 departments have seen patients online in previous months.
The internet hospital of the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University received 53,867 patient visits from Dec 1 to Jan 3. In addition, the internet hospital of Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, which is also affiliated to the university, has received some 3,000 patient visits since Dec 11.
More than 500 doctors from Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital have worked with patients online in recent months.
In a statement, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital said that internet hospitals have become an important supplementary tool for medical centers.