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      emelia06p7
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      <div class=”artSplitter mol-img-group”> <div> <div class=”image-wrap”> Online doctor consultations are a booming business as the coronavirus crisis keeps people at home </div> <noscript> Online doctor consultations are a booming business as the coronavirus crisis keeps people at home </noscript> </div> <p class=”imageCaption”>Online doctor consultations are a booming business as the coronavirus crisis keeps people at home</p> </div> <p>As the coronavirus crisis rages, a Chinese woman working in Paris takes to a computer to consult a doctor thousands of kilometres away in Shanghai about a worrisome cough and headache.</p> <p>The physician says she probably has the common cold and prescribes rest, in a cyber-consultation that embodies the huge push the coronavirus epidemic has given tele-medicine.</p> <p>As millions of Chinese heed official calls to reduce person-to-person encounters, are fearful of entering hospitals, or simply can’t reach clinics due to virus-related transport restrictions, tele-medicine is booming.</p> <p>Online platforms for consulting doctors — offered by tech leaders Tencent, Alibaba and a range of other providers — have reported a surge in demand since the virus emerged in January.</p> <p>The popular health app of Ping An Insurance Group, one of the world’s biggest insurers, has been visited 11 billion times since the outbreak erupted, the company said.</p> <p>New users of the platform have multiplied ten-fold and it now counts at least 315 million customers who make 729,000 inquiries per day at clinics nationwide.</p> <p>Wedoctor, an app backed by Tencent, 닥터스피부과 launched a special coronavirus platform on January 23.

      It said that by the end of February thousands of doctors had provided nearly 1.5 million consultations through the programme.</p> <p>Ali Health meanwhile, a healthcare app provided by Alibaba, said even as early as January 31 that the platform had more than 1,000 doctors participating and over 3,000 patients per hour seeking consultations.</p> <p>- ‘Long-term change’ -</p> <p>Shanghai’s Xuhui Central Hospital allowed journalists to sit in on online doctor visits Monday.</p> <div class=”artSplitter mol-img-group”> <div> <div class=”image-wrap”> At Shanghai's Xuhui Central Hospital, doctors offering web consultations take turns at a cluster of cubicles equipped with computers and software </div> <noscript> At Shanghai's Xuhui Central Hospital, doctors offering web consultations take turns at a cluster of cubicles equipped with computers and software </noscript> </div> <p class=”imageCaption”>At Shanghai’s Xuhui Central Hospital, doctors offering web consultations take turns at a cluster of cubicles equipped with computers and 닥터스피부과 software</p> </div> <p>The facility began experimenting with tele-medicine in 2015 and last month received a government licence to operate what it calls a “cloud hospital”.</p> <p>Internet consultations have grown from virtually nil on February 25 to 5,293 as of Sunday.</p> <p>”This will be a long-term change in medicine,” said Zhou Jian, a top official with the hospital.</p> <p>”This changes the model.”</p> <p>Users download an app, then join a queue of patients.

      After a brief consultation, doctors give medical advice which may include merely rest, consulting a specialist — which also can be done online — or prescription medication.</p> <p>To curb the coronavirus’s spread, China’s government has been promoting stay-at-home options like tele-commuting and online education, and late last month began allowing the use of national medical insurance to cover prescriptions issued via the web.</p> <p>At the Shanghai hospital, medications are paid for online using one of China’s ubiquitous e-payment platforms, then delivered to patients free of charge, sometimes the same day, officials said.</p> <p>”It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you have a mobile phone and a signal, you can have a face-to-face medical consultation with our doctors,” said Zhou.</p> <p>Most e-consultations at the hospital have nothing to do with coronavirus symptoms.</p> <div class=”artSplitter mol-img-group”> <div> <div class=”image-wrap”> Online consultations are being promoted to help take some of the strain off health care workers in China </div> <noscript> Online consultations are being promoted to help take some of the strain off health care workers in China </noscript> </div> <p class=”imageCaption”>Online consultations are being promoted to help take some of the strain off health care workers in China</p> </div> <p>Dozens of doctors across a range of disciplines, from pediatrics to cardiology to dermatology, are available, taking turns at a cluster of cubicles equipped with computers and the necessary software.</p> <p>Hospital officials said the benefits are many, including easing the burden on hospital staff, streamlining processes and allowing the elderly or infirm to avoid an unnecessary trek outside.</p> <p>But many elderly Chinese unaccustomed to using apps often have trouble, said cardiologist Wang Dewen, 75, after completing a series of online chats with patients.</p> <p>”Older people are not as proficient with operating a mobile phone. That’s probably the biggest difficulty,” he said.</p> <p>However, if tele-medicine is to grab a foothold anywhere, China is a good bet.</p> <p>From messaging to buying groceries and meals, paying bills, making investments and seeking out romantic partners, 닥터스피부과 the country has embraced the use of mobile technologies like no other nation.</p> <p>Pulling out cash can bring a snigger in a place where many purchases are done via one-click mobile apps linked to a bank account.</p> <p>And traditional money has lost even more currency of late as people seek to avoid contact with anything that could carry COVID-19.</p> <p>Virus-phobia has sent hundreds of millions of Chinese in search of ways to work online, with schools, businesses, government departments, medical facilities — even museums and zoos — wrapping themselves in a digital bubble for protection.</p></div>

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