World Cancer Day: telemedicine helps doctors treat cancer patients over COVID
By Cao Bing

The past year of 2020 has been particularly difficult for cancer patients, especially those who live far from hospitals and need regular check-ups.

The IT Department at Beijing Cancer Hospital has designed an online platform to reduce patients' risks of exposure to the novel coronavirus.

It enables cancer patients to discuss their recovery with doctors remotely after finishing a course of clinical treatment.

What they need to do is to get their check-up done at a local hospital, get their test reports, and talk to their doctors from Beijing Cancer Hospital via a video-call.

"Just open the platform, select the department, time and the doctor you want to revisit, upload your test reports, make the payment and then we make an appointment. On the meeting day, the patient can use a mobile phone to make a video call, while the doctor will use a computer to check medical records. And it only costs 50 yuan, or about $8, for a 15-minute video diagnosis," Heng Fanxiu, the director of the IT department, told CGTN, adding that the process is way to follow.

Compared with offline clinical services, doctors and patients say the online inquiry system is a lot more convenient.

"To tell you the truth, I was not used to the new way at the beginning. But now we find what we do offline can all be done online, such as reading test reports, talking to patients, and making prescriptions. Medical records are all in the system for us to check. Most importantly, it can reduce cancer patients' risk of exposure to the coronavirus," said Wang Yuyan, a chief physician from the Beijing Cancer Hospital.

System data shows more than 45,000 online medical inquiries are already lodged on the platform, and the number is growing fast.

Some may have privacy concerns, but the IT director says the system is very safe.

This is because all the information is stored on our server rather than in the cloud. So all the patients' personal information is well protected.

Heng said modern technology is playing a major role in treating cancer patients today, and he's hopeful of being able to build further on this innovation in the near future.

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