CHWs (153) WHO Bulletin: Description of an online hospital platform, China

5 August, 2019

Dear HIFA colleagues,

The August issue of the WHO Bulletin includes an interesting report of a large-scale video consultation platform in China. Extracts and a comment from me below.

Description of an online hospital platform, China


Here, we describe an online hospital platform in Guangdong province, the challenges the platform faces and the potential role that digital health can play in primary care.

The physicians provide online video consultations for about 14 000 community-based health providers

Practitioners using the platform can only deal with 98 listed conditions. If a patient’s condition is not on the list, the platform’s algorithm suggests that the physician refer the patient to a hospital.


Comment (NPW): This paper suggests an interesting new perspective to our recent discussion on bridging the gap between CHWs (and other primary health workers) and specialists/hospital clinic care. That said, there is a case for consultations to be made primarily by family physicians and other higher-level professionals rather than by CHWs.

I have written to the corresponding author Junzhang Tian (email: for further details. I would be especially interested to learn more about the impact of the initiative on quality of care.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: