Healthcare professionals work at the Chronic Disease Management Center of digital healthcare company WeDoctor's grassroots-level healthcare maintenance organization in Tianjin in August 2021. (Photo/CHINA DAILY)
Trends emerge in areas such as surgery, treatment of chronic illnesses
After years of development, China's digital healthcare sector is embracing new types of high-quality innovation, with many new trends emerging.
Digital healthcare — medical services provided with the help of digital technologies — includes remote consultations, internet hospitals and smart healthcare.
During the just-concluded 2022 World Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit in Wuzhen, East China's Zhejiang province, digital healthcare company WeDoctor, based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, also showcased its latest achievements.
In 2015, just before the opening of the second WIC, WeDoctor launched China's first internet hospital — Wuzhen Internet Hospital — in Tongxiang, Zhejiang. The hospital provided online follow-up visits, digital healthcare record sharing and online diagnoses and prescriptions on a large scale, the company said.
By September, the company had offered digital healthcare services through the partnership with nearly 8,000 brick-and-mortar hospitals nationwide. There were 300,000 registered doctors on the platform and 33 internet hospitals, among which 19 had worked out ways for patients to be covered for their services with public medical insurance.
"In the past 10 years, China's medical reform has achieved great breakthroughs, and digital healthcare is a key factor in that. China's new medical reforms, which emphasize digitalization, offer an example to the rest of the world," said Liao Jieyuan, founder, chairman and CEO of WeDoctor.
The company also started a healthcare maintenance organization (HMO) in Tianjin in 2020.The organization serves as a cloud platform that gathers information from 266 grassroots-level hospitals in the city. The HMO performs digital, intensive and standardized management of the healthcare information of patients, especially patients with chronic illnesses, WeDoctor officials said.
By September, 76.68 percent of diabetes patients participating in WeDoctor's chronic disease management were following the platform's standardized management process. The rate of controlled blood glucose of those who participated in chronic disease management for three months was 13.5 percent higher than those who did not participate, company officials said.
"Digital technologies offer us great means for chronic disease management, which requires constant efforts inside and outside the hospital," said Ji Linong, head of the endocrinology department at the People's Hospital of Peking University.
Kang Lei, in charge of diabetes treatment at Sanofi Greater China, said: "The emergence of digital healthcare offers new answers for chronic disease treatment. China's healthcare industry has shifted from the basic model of people seeking medical treatment in hospitals to a model that offers multiple healthcare services in various scenarios." The company is a unit of Sanofi SA, an international healthcare company based in Paris.
"It is expected that with the help of digital healthcare, medical resources across the country will be more balanced, and China's overall medical service level will be raised," Kang said.
Beijing Anzhen Hospital of Capital Medical University demonstrated a surgery information collection robot at its booth at the 2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services held in Beijing in September.
The robot can track and record surgical images in real time, compile information and broadcast it remotely through a 5G network. At the same time, it can also connect with medical equipment in the operating room and capture images in real time. Now in use at Beijing Anzhen Hospital, it is expected to be applied widely in the country.