An App today
can keep the doctor away?
By Yuan Quan | CHINA FEATURES
Gong Xiaoming (龚晓明 http://www.weibo.com/obgyn), an obstetrician at a public hospital in Shanghai, usually sees up to 30 outpatients a day, but when he writes an article about uterine fibroids it can easily draw tens of thousands clicks within a day on his microblog.
“I can’t believe that a doctor on Weibo can be so influential,” said Gong, 42.
By day he works at Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital, but around the clock 520,000 people follow him on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblog service.
Gong’s popularity started with an article he wrote in 2012, saying that many female patients were diagnosed or even prescribed treatments to deal with “cervical erosion”, which, he believes, is not a real medical condition.
Gong hoped the article could raise public awareness about overtreatment. He put it on his Weibo, and it was soon reposted 33,000 times, with over 4,000 comments. A microblogger replied, “Hail to the doctor with a conscience!”
A search for “doctor” on Sina Weibo can throw up more than 2,700 accounts, nearly half of them accredited to specific hospitals. There are also hundreds of “nutritionists” and “medical technicians”. Followers range from thousands to millions. The most popular doctor’s Weibo account has 3.61 million “fans”, 30,000 more than that of basketball star Stephon Marbury.
As well as popularizing medical science, these people are revealing the human face of their profession through social media. They speak the slang of the Internet, talk about their private lives and make fun of themselves.
Yu Ying (于莺 http://www.weibo.com/539945667), a former staff member at the prestigious Peking Union Medical College Hospital, is a pioneer doctor in social media. She named her Weibo account “Emergency Superwoman”, using a selfie photo as her icon. She gathered a following by sharing the joys and embarrassments of working in a major hospital. However, her posts often sparked controversy by revealing problems in China’s healthcare system.
Cui Yutao (崔玉涛 http://www.weibo.com/cuiyutao), a pediatrician at a Beijing private hospital, runs a virtual clinic. All his posts are replies to questions about baby health. His patience and references to Western medicine have won nationwide acclaim. His fans call him “Super Hero”.
Dong Ning, a young pediatrician, has no time to run his own Weibo account, but he believes that the online consultations can help cut patients’ medical costs.
Dong cites the example of a pregnant woman who might have many questions during her nine-month pregnancy. In the West, she could ask her family doctor for help, but in China, she must register at various departments in a crowded hospital, sometimes choosing the wrong department in her ignorance.
“Doctors’social media accounts fill in the blanks,” said Dong.
The online clinic also helps doctors.
“Social media is a good platform offering for my observations, and lets me know the demands of my patients, as well of my staff,” said Duan Tao, president of Shanghai First Maternity & Infant Hospital. He began his Weibo and WeChat accounts, “Dr. Duan Tao”, in March, and has more than 70,000 followers in total.
But they also open themselves to direct criticism. “As a president, I used to be the last one to know patients’ complaints, but now I am the first,” said Duan.
But mostly, health professionals are treated with respect.
Gu Zhongyi (顾中一 http://www.weibo.com/guyingyang), now 27, an inexperienced nutritionist at Beijing Friendship Hospital, used to believe he had no future “as the nutrition department is usually on the hospital fringes”.
Since he began posting weight-loss and nutrition tips in 2010, he has become a celebrity with TV and online programs inviting him to give lectures.
“I seldom mention the hospital I work for as the outpatient registration would fill up for the whole week,” Gu said.
More than 2,000 healthcare apps are available to enable users to contact doctors either by instant message or phone. Their conversations are open to other users, who can assess a doctor’s services and skills at a glance, rather than from their qualifications.
The “Spring Rain” app, which has been downloaded 32 million times, allows users to ask a doctor for advice for free, but if someone wants advice from a particular doctor, they have to pay.
“For example, a consultation with one pediatrician started at 6 yuan, but due to her excellent service, she was very popular, and now her rate is 89 yuan, far more than doctors with higher qualifications,” said Spring Rain branding director Xu Yanni.
According to mobile Internet market research company IIMEDIA Consultation Group, China’s mobile medical market will be worth 12.53 billion yuan by 2017.
Gong said almost 90 percent of his patients come to him because of his online performance. “Patients give you trust, which a young doctor at a big public hospital rarely enjoys.”
China’s medical resources are extremely unbalanced, with 80 percent of patients in rural areas but most quality hospitals concentrated in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
The pressures on the health system and strained doctor-patient relations have resulted in increasing violence. Many patients are angry and frustrated at difficulties accessing treatment, high fees and, in some cases, doctors’ unfriendly attitudes.
Meanwhile, doctors complain about their workloads, and hospitals are often understaffed.
But the development of online services comes with a warning.
Gao Lei, a senior hematologist at a public hospital in Chongqing, says an online consultation comes with the risk of misdiagnosis. After all, observation, listening, questions and pulse-taking are fundamental diagnostic methods. “They are irreplaceable,” said Gao.
“If you want to get well, please go to a hospital,” said Duan Tao.
Sharing information online is also a risk. Duan has doubts about the security of information, because he once found someone using online data to cheat his patients.
Wang Ping, director of the Fourth Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, points out that though online clinics can improve efficiency and relieve pressure, the process and privacy still require scrutiny and regulation – a task that China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission is now addressing.
* Source | http://www.icrosschina.com/
Let’s share Chinese version !!!
自媒体: 中国医生的“新欢” ?
作者: 袁全 申安妮 王智 | 中国特稿社
医学科普无疑是医生获赞的最佳方式。为了让深奥的医学知识变得生动,医生们开始放下身段,改变形象: 摘下口罩,不再以正襟危坐的姿态示人, 微博头像大多露出“天使般”的笑脸。他们熟练地使用网络语言,时不时地还会和粉丝调侃、“卖萌”几句。
董宁说,以女性怀孕为例, 十月怀胎期间会遇到各种各样的问题。 在西方，人们往往选择向家庭医生咨询,但在中国,要想解决所有的病症,“只能到医院一个科室一个科室地去排队挂号,有时还不一定挂的合适。” 如果患者在就诊前就能获得一些咨询,可以省去很多麻烦。
“医生的自媒体正好填补了这个空白。” 董宁说, 如果有精力,他也会建一个类似的自媒体。
中国医科大学附属第四医院院长王平认为， 在好医院、好医生紧缺的情况下,互联网医疗的发展,有利于优化医疗资源的配置和使用, 能提高医疗效率和患者就医感。但互联网医疗中如何保证医疗质量和安全、保护患者隐私以及误诊如何维权等, 还需进一步的监管和规范。