The accelerated integration of the new generation of information technologies such as 5G, cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data into the medical industry across China has brought greater convenience for patients.
A woman surnamed Wu in Changping district, Beijing, is one of those who have benefited from smart healthcare. As a patient with high blood pressure, Wu has mobility problems and needs to receive regular follow-up examinations and obtain medicines from the Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, which is more than 40km away from her home.
After learning that the hospital was offering online follow-up examinations, Wu made an appointment after registering through the hospital’s app. A cardiologist from the hospital asked Wu about her symptoms in detail and prescribed medicines online for her according to her medical history. In just 10 minutes, she completed the process of registration, follow-up examinations and receiving prescriptions online.
"I don’t have to go to the hospital. It’s so convenient to consult with a doctor online and have the prescribed medicines delivered,” Wu said excitedly.
So far, 263 doctors from 19 departments of the hospital including the cardiology and respiratory medicine departments have offered online follow-up examinations to about 10,000 patients and prescribed medicines online for over 5,000 patients.
In recent years, patients like Wu have enjoyed the convenience brought by smart healthcare. The high speed and low latency of the 5G network in the medical field allows for remote surgery, while the application of cloud computing and storage ensures the smooth operation of medical service systems. Patients can also consult with medical experts “face to face” through video, voice, text, pictures and other ways.
The highly digitalized and networked healthcare brings medical services closer to patients and shortens the process involved in receiving medical services, which greatly improves the efficiency and quality of medical services and realizes the efficient sharing of medical resources, according to Zhang Bo, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Science.
Smart healthcare also helps channel high-quality medical sources toward the community level and results in better medical services in large hospitals.
Thanks to an AI-assisted system developed by Chinese AI giant Baidu, doctors at a community health center in Mafang town, Pinggu district of Beijing, are able to easily and quickly search for diseases, examinations and medications for patients.
With an optimal knowledge base of many common diseases and the experience of medical experts, the system offers suggestions on medical consultations and diagnosis, as well as treatment solutions, said Liu Junwei, deputy general manager of Baidu’s smart healthcare division.
“This enables new doctors to deal with diseases they are unfamiliar with and helps veteran doctors enhance the efficiency of diagnosis and treatment,” according to an executive with the health center.
The system has been applied at 19 community health centers, facilitating the work of over 200 primary-level doctors.
Experts also said that policies, mechanisms and technological innovation are needed to facilitate smart healthcare, as the industry is still in its early stages.