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Health digital technology in COVID-19 pandemic: experience from China
  1. Meijun Shu,
  2. Jiarui Li
  1. Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jiarui Li, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing 100032, China; lijiaruipumc{at}

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Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in December 2019, hospitals in many countries have come under great strain. As medical resources are diverted to fight the outbreak and strict restrictions are imposed by authorities, regular medical services have come to a standstill in the affected area. To cope with numerous people seeking medical care, Chinese hospitals have adopted multiple innovative information technologies. These technologies have unprecedentedly improved the Chinese hospital’s entire response capacity and reduced the workload of medical workers when facing the COVID-19 outbreak. Here, we reported four strategies that Chinese hospitals have implemented to tackle the crisis.

Telemedicine service

Chinese hospitals have launched free online medical consultation services soon after the outbreak. The prearranged outpatient clinic was moved online or on mobile apps. Based on the experience of Peking Union Medical College Hospital, its mobile app opened a specialised online consulting section for febrile patients on 10 February.1 Since then, the hospital has promoted online specialist consultation services orderly. A total of 805 specialists from 43 different departments of the hospital had joined online specialist consultation by 2 March. On the day of 17 February, the hospital provided telemedicine services for at least 1 500 patients. Meanwhile, nearly all Chinese tertiary hospitals launched such platforms with the help of local authorities. Apart from free medical consultations for patients, these platforms also released up-to-date official statistics about COVID-19, disease prevention and control knowledge, and contact information of psychological counselling.

When people can access professional medical guidance through computers or other mobile devices, their panic and anxiety about …

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  • Contributors Both authors conceived and designed this correspondence. MS drafted the manuscript. JL reviewed and revised the manuscript. Both authors approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.