Telemedicine continues to attract international attention, with
China on track to become one of the largest telemedicine markets in
Just a year after the National Health and Family Planning
Commission of the People's Republic of China (NHFPC) began promoting the development of a national
telemedicine network in China, multiple telemedicine pilots are
already being implemented at the provincial level. This will
strengthen the foundation at local levels in China for the
expansion of telemedicine opportunities for U.S. health care
According to a recent report from the Sichuan Provincial Government,
Sichuan is the first to release provincial-level Guidance on Family Telemedicine Pilot
Programs. The Guidance states that before medical
institutions and medical practitioners can offer family-focused
telemedicine services, they must obtain a corresponding
"Certificate Authority" (CA) certificate, which will be
issued by the Sichuan Family Telemedicine Center to qualified
medical institutions and by qualified medical institutions to their
Medical institutions providing family telemedicine services
Be a tier-2, grade 1 medical institution or above;
Have relevant departments corresponding to the telemedicine
practice areas, as well as relevant qualified personnel,
technology, equipment and facilities.
Medical practitioners providing family telemedicine services
Register at a tier-2, grade 1 medical institution or above
Must have practiced for at least three years; and
Must pass the required training and examination at the Sichuan
Family Telemedicine Center.
Moreover, the Guidance requires that patients receiving family
telemedicine services register using their real names.
The Sichuan University Huaxi Hospital and the Provincial
People’s Hospital will be the first two Sichuan hospitals to
launch telemedicine pilots. Per the Provincial Government
announcement, by the end of 2015, each of the 21 cities in Sichuan
Province will have one hospital participating in the telemedicine
pilot program. In 2016, Sichuan Province will expand the
telemedicine pilot program to build a 4-tier telemedicine system
(i.e., a program with pilots at the province, city, county, and
In addition to Sichuan, Hunan Province is also spearheading a telemedicine pilot program. In Hunan, the
Provincial Second People's Hospital has been providing
telemedicine services since October 2015. Currently, the
telemedicine services provided by the Hunan Provincial Second
People's Hospital are offered for free, but are primarily
limited to psychiatry, psychology and family medicine areas. Hunan
Province is promoting the use of electronic prescriptions and
electronic medical records. However, telemedicine-prescribed
medicines are not reimbursable in the currently effective China
medical insurance system in Hunan province.
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