How localization of medical information is helping China meet clinical care challenges

Hospitals in China are using tailored clinical information systems to boost their healthcare capabilities

Photo @ istock.com/XiXinXing

In China, healthcare resources are unequally distributed across the country: wealthier cities tend to have better hospitals while many other cities and most rural areas lack them. This situation puts a strain on the resources of top hospitals (8 percent of the country’s total count) with 50 percent of China’s patients seeking better treatment options at these premium facilities.

By equipping new and existing doctors with tailored clinical information systems specific to the Chinese market, the country can rapidly boost its healthcare capabilities.

There are 2 doctors per 1,000 people in the world’s most populous nation, according to 2017 data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – a figure above the World Health Organization’s recommended 1:1,000 ratio. However, these doctors are spread across a large geographical area, with the majority concentrated in larger cities. Meanwhile, there is a shortage of medical professionals to provide adequate patient care in remote rural provinces and counties.

Compounding this shortage are the challenges of a rapidly aging nation accompanied by the rising prevalence of “modern” chronic diseases, which are putting China’s hospital system and resources under strain.

China needs efficient and productive solutions to its healthcare dilemma.

In 2009, the country launched the Healthy China 2020 initiative, which aimed to provide universal healthcare access and treatment for all of China by 2020. To cope with the demand for clinical care, a training system was set up to enable more of the country’s young doctors to acquire greater and deeper knowledge in specialist fields over a relatively short period of three years.

On top of that, in China’s high-pressure hospital environment, resource-strapped medical professionals need quick and convenient access to evidence-based and authoritative clinical information that facilitates diagnostic accuracy, patient safety and reduction in clinical variation to improve quality of care.

“Boosting the capabilities of young doctors is the cornerstone for the future development of China’s healthcare ecosystem,” said Lim Kok Keng, Elsevier’s Managing Director for Greater China. “We introduced a China-specific version of Elsevier’s flagship ClinicalKey solution in response to the pressing need for doctors to gain instant access to relevant information and sound medical guidance so that they can become well-informed, well-developed healthcare professionals."

Lim Kok Keng speaks at the ClinicalKey China launch in Shanghai.

"We're getting the answers quickly during an emergency"

Physicians say this access is helping them provide better treatment while learning specialized skills.

Wang Kai, MDDr. Wang Kai, Chief Physician at Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital’s Emergency Surgery Unit, explained:

In a time when we’re dealing with increasingly complex diseases, trying to keep current of the deluge of clinical information in order to master specialist areas in a short timeframe becomes a very real challenge for doctors. Elsevier’s ClinicalKey China offers real-time information that compensates for any potential information gap and improves the learning experience.

Feng Lu, MD“The idea of attaining instant accessibility to concise and precise medical information is a concept that appeals to situations requiring immediate first aid support, especially in an emergency,” added Dr. Feng Lu, Deputy Director of the Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital’s Emergency Center:

There’s a high level of information accuracy that resides in the evidence-based content of ClinicalKey. During the trial run, users find the mobile solution handy and practical as they’re able to get the answers they’re looking for quickly during an emergency.

Designed around doctors’ need for fast and accurate answers, ClinicalKey China offers a product interface with a multi-page search function that suits the usage habits and tight schedules of medical professionals.

“The biggest value of ClinicalKey China lies in Elsevier’s vast collection of global evidence-based content through the medical monographs and knowledge maps that we’ve incorporated into the solution,” said Eddie Ma, Clinical Solutions Director for Greater China. “Along with China’s own medical framework, medication databases and drug recommendation guidelines, we’ve also included fuzzy logic and pinyin search functions to improve and localize the experience to better meet the needs of medical professionals in China.”

Eddie Ma, Elsevier’s Clinical Solutions Director for Greater China, speaks at the launch of ClinicalKey China in Shanghai.

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