Major hospitals in southern China’s Guangdong province have set up Internet hospitals from which doctors can consult, diagnose, offer treatment and facilitate the administration of drugs to patients.
Internet hospitals have helped reduce outpatient services at major hospitals across the province caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, according to a statement issued by the Guangdong Provincial Health Commission.
“The Internet hospitals set up by large hospitals in Guangdong are equivalent to adding six large or medium-sized hospitals,” the statement said.
They play an important role in reducing the risk of cross-infection and helping to control and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in the province, the statement said.
With more than 126 million inhabitants, Guangdong is China’s most populous province.
“Residents can choose the Internet version of their local hospitals from their homes by logging into the Yuejiantong WeChat mini-program and get health consultation, medical treatment and medicine delivery services,” the statement said.
More than 160 major hospitals in the province have set up their Internet hospitals on Yuejiantong, which was established by the Guangdong Health Commission, she said.
In addition to general hospitals, Internet hospitals have established specialized hospitals such as traditional Chinese medicine, women and children, dermatology, and cancer hospitals.
Statistics from the commission showed that 1.25 million patients visited Guangdong Internet Hospitals from December 12 to 31, with a daily average of 62,400.
Zhou Qiru, a senior doctor at the Second Guangdong Provincial General Hospital, said her internet hospital has played a vital role in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic in Guangzhou, the provincial capital, in recent months.
Zhou said the internet hospital was admitting more than 1,000 patients a day when Guangzhou’s Haizhu district was locked down due to the outbreak in October and November.
More than 80 percent of Internet hospitals’ patients seek medical help for chronic conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes, he said.
In order to better serve patients, the Internet Hospital has upgraded its online platform and medical facilities, and each department of the hospital must assign at least one doctor to be on duty with online patients every day.
Zhou said he believes internet hospitals will continue to develop in the coming months as both the central and provincial governments have introduced a number of policies and measures to support them.
Major hospitals in Guangzhou have also recently seen an increase in the number of internet hospital patients.
Doctors working for Zhujiang Hospital of Southern Medical University’s Internet Hospital handled more than 23,620 patient visits in December. More than 500 medical professionals and senior doctors from 50 departments have seen patients online in the previous months.
Internet Hospital The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University received 53,867 patient visits from December 1st to January 3rd. In addition, the online Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, which is also affiliated with the university, has received some 3,000 patient visits since December 11.
More than 500 doctors at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital have been working with patients online in recent months.
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital said in a statement that Internet hospitals have become an important complementary tool for medical centers.