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International Relation

Telemedical shapes a "health Silk Road"

May 05, 2019


Abstract : With the further development of the Belt and Road (B&R), the public's demand for life quality and health has grown higher. Health tools and innovation models driven by new generation of network and information technology have promoted the reforms in industrial chains from multipl

BEIJING, May 5 (Xinhua) -- With the further development of the Belt and Road (B&R), the public's demand for life quality and health has grown higher. Health tools and innovation models driven by new generation of network and information technology have promoted the reforms in industrial chains from multiple dimensions.

At present, the combination of Internet and medicine has been able to break up the limits in time and space, and it is channeling the vertical flow of medical resource, especially to grass-roots and places lack of high-quality medical resources. It makes it possible to realize interaction of advantage medical resources between China and countries along the Belt and Road.

--- Injecting innovative technology into BRI healthcare

The year 2019 is known as the start of the 5G era. 5G is not only the extension of 4G, but more of a real fusion network. Besides, 5G in medicine has also developed fast. Technical innovation has kept promoting the medical development. China so far has started cooperation with the B&R countries in exploration of intelligent medical technology.

On April 5, 2019, the 4th Annual Conference of the International Academy of Cardiology was convened in Lahore, Pakistan. Professor Wu Yongjian, an expert from Fuwai Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS), and his team performed a heart intervention surgery at an invitation in Qingdao Fuwai Cardiovascular Hospital (a CAMS partner), and the entire process was broadcast to the Pakistani medical representatives participating in the conference through the 5G mobile network.

This is China's first live broadcast of a heart intervention surgery to one of the B&R countries.

"Now with China's increasingly mature, varied and strong medical technology, it is of great importance to promoting it among the countries along the Belt and Road. We hope that through our efforts China's advanced medical technology will benefit more patients in these countries," said Professor Wu.

This surgery live broadcast is designed to deepen the academic exchanges between the two countries, help more Pakistani medical staff better understand and learn China's advanced medical technology, and benefit more patients in the countries along the Belt and Road.

In addition, the first application of 5G network in intelligent healthcare took place on December 18, 2018 when Liu Rong, director of the second hepatobiliary surgery department of the 1st Medical Center of Chinese PLA General Hospital, remotely controlled a robot-assisted bedside system to cut a hepatic lobule off an experimental pig in the animal laboratory at Mengchao Hepatobiliary Hospital of Fujian University, which is 50 kilometers away, marking the world's first 5G-based remote surgery.

Another typical case took place in March of this year, China’s first success in 5G-based remote control over human body surgery. China Mobile and Huawei cooperated with Chinese PLA General Hospital and successfully completed a 5G-based remote human body surgery across nearly 3,000 kilometers to implant a brain pacemaker for treatment of Parkinson's disease.

It is reported that Shanghai General Hospital and China Mobile (Shanghai) jointly established China's first joint innovation center of intelligent medical services based on 5G network. This innovation center will focus on promoting the construction of 5G-based Internet + Intelligent Hospital Service System on all fronts.

The two partners will actively advance medical informatization construction in terms of telemedicine, regional cooperation, intelligent hospitalization, intelligent IoT and AI, with the platform support of "Smart Hongkou" Dual Gigabit 5G Demonstration District.

--- Construction of an international medical information sharing platform

China has undertaken to open an artificial intelligence (AI) cloud based cervical cancer diagnose platform to the world from April 2019 to facilitate the cervical cancer screening worldwide, according to Landing AI Cytological Diagnostic Research Center of Wuhan University, which is a pioneer in integrating AL cervical cancer diagnose and Internet and builder of the platform.

With the opening of the platform, women from countries and regions all along the Belt and Road, can have access to high-quality and low-cost cervical cancer screening service, said Profession Sun Xiaorong, chief scientist of Landing AI Cytologial Diagnostic Research Center. She stressed that "Landing" artificial intelligence (AI) cloud platform for cervical cancer screening will give priority to the cooperation with the countries along the Belt and Road. The successful experiences of cervical cancer screening via AI in China's rural areas can be copied and promoted among the countries along the Belt and Road.

In Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province and the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, the BRI International Medical Center was launched in May 2018, which is the city's important move in strengthening BRI medical cooperation.

Under this program, the "BRI Health Town" comprises several intelligent medical projects such as physical examination base of international health tourism, AI and Big Data laboratory, BRI hygiene and health cloud platform, and BRI medical science and health exchange center. Upon completion, the facility will further promote the integration of local businesses with BRI intelligent healthcare.

--- Strengthening cooperation and looking forward to the future

On December 27, 2018, the 23rd medical aid team of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region was sent to Benin in Africa, and conducted its first transnational remote consultation over Internet between local doctors of Benin Lokossa Central Hospital and the experts from the First People's Hospital of Yinchuan, Ningxia.

"This is a new attempt. The remote consultation over Internet was once considered but not put into practice due to limited conditions," an expert from the First People's Hospital of Yinchuan said.

In the face of various difficulties, Ningxia once communicated with the Benin hospital for several times, reported to the Chinese embassy to Benin and negotiated with Huawei office in Benin. After multiple rehearsals, this remote consultation finally came true.

This transnational digital consultation has facilitated China's medical cooperation with the countries along the Belt and Road, further promoted the international cooperation on intelligent healthcare and also brought innovation to the popularization of Internet + Healthcare. It can be seen as a new measure of going global.

As early as August 18, 2017, China-Zambia Remote Medical Consultation System made its debut in Belt and Road High Level Meeting for Health Cooperation: towards a Health Silk Road. Relying on China's superior medical resources and adopting a technical framework with the dual support of video conference system and data exchange platform, the system has covered the main medical institutions in Zambia.

In addition to medical aid, China has actively stepped up the cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), signed bilateral or multilateral agreements on medical cooperation with nearly 100 countries or regions along the Belt and Road, and made great contributions to infectious disease control and maternal and child health.

The advanced techniques such as 5G, AI and others are typical integration of new-generation information technology and more of strategic technology leading the current and future social and economic development. Intelligent healthcare is an important application of AI in social life and also an important link in deepening China's cooperation with the countries along the Belt and Road on medical cooperation.

In the future, the construction of information infrastructure such as AI, Big Data and 5G will be highly integrated with medical industry at a faster pace. More efforts will be made to develop intelligent healthcare, strengthen the medical exchanges and cooperation with the countries along the Belt and Road, and promote the integration of digital medical industry. (Contributed by Jiang Feifan)

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Keyword: medical international cooperation belt and road

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