Trying to see a doctor in China's public hospitals can be a painful experience, often involving queueing overnight just to get a consultation lasting a few minutes.
A Chinese Internet firm is attepting to address the problem by providing Chinese patients online access to licensed doctors in more than 2,400 hospitals across the country.
The Wuzhen Internet Hospital based in Wuzhen, a riverside town in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, was founded in December 2015 to provide services via an app it has developed called We Doctor. [Special coverage]
Zhang Guimin, marketing director of the company, described the firm as the medical version of Uber, where patients can describe their illness and arrange appropriate doctors.
"Doctors can pick up orders on their own and confirm an appointment for an online diagnosis when they have time," Zhang said.
The medical service is the online equivalent to a hospital outpatient service. Users can get prescriptions and pay bills on their cellphones, and have medicines delivered afterwards.
They can also make face-to-face appointments with doctors through the app.
"It is better to see a patient in person in the case of a serious illness," said Chen Aiguo, head of the surgical department at Tongxiang No.3 People's Hospital, Zhejiang, "The app is very helpful for making appointments and conducting further consultations. You can just do it with your phone."
Zhang is among 26,000 doctors registered on We Doctor. The app sees an average of 31,000 appointments made each day.
"The app helps connect well-known doctors with patients from not only major cities but also rural areas," Zhang said. "It helps balance unevenly distributed medical resources."
Home to the world's largest online community, 710 million people as of June 2016, more than 95 percent of China's cities, towns and villages now have broadband.
Wuzhen Internet Hospital set up a branch in southwest China's Sichuan Province in October to facilitate remote diagnosis services in the poverty-stricken Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture.
Qiu Jipo, 47, lives in the mountainous Qiaodi Township and was among the first to use the service. Suffering from femoral head necrosis and arthritis, Qiu has a five-hour walk to the nearest clinic that can treat him.
Through a remote video system set up by We Doctor's Sichuan branch, Han Sijing, a veteran doctor from 416 Hospital in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, is able to diagnose Qiu, and supervise a local specialist in the township's clinic to treat him.
"Seeing a doctor outside the town or a doctor from a top-level hospital had been unthinkable before," Qiu said.
Besides the Internet hospital in Sichuan, Wuzhen Internet Hospital has branches in 16 cities and provinces, including Beijing, northwest China's Gansu Province and southwest China's Guizhou Province.
The Internet firm plans to set up 100 branches over the next three years, providing online medical consultations and e-prescription via cellphones or remote video systems.