The main objective is to obtain uniform standards of treatment for all patients, and thus, assure equitable distribution of medical resources. The system is in use in most of the provinces. Rheumatologists can enroll patients into this database, after obtaining informed consent, and upload all patient information, history, laboratory tests, and other investigations. The data are then constantly updated and progress of the patient can be followed online. It aims to improve communication between health professionals and patients by providing a platform for free exchange of ideas, views, questions, and answers. Doctors and other medical personnel can communicate freely with each other through this medium, and it also serves as an excellent referral network.
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Explore This IssueSeptember 2013
This database provides well-researched, evidence-based treatment protocols for the three diseases within its realm. It also provides standardized assessment guidelines for monitoring disease activity. Patients in remote areas and with access to only primary-level care now have the opportunity to get the same standard of treatment as patients in bigger cities and be referred in a timely manner. The treatment and progress of all patients in the database is closely monitored by experts in the field, and thus, negligence and medical malpractice are greatly minimized.
I believe that using similar databases could revolutionize the delivery of healthcare in China. With increased awareness among patients as well as health professionals, more and more patients can be enrolled, and the system can be used to cover a wide variety of diseases. I believe it could lay the foundation for the much required change in the current healthcare situation in my country.
Dr. Tong is in the department of rheumatology and immunology at Changhai Hospital, affiliated to Second Military Medical University, in Shanghai, China.