Retired doctors from Peking Union Medical College Hospital are providing long-distance medical treatments via the internet to poor patients at clinics in northeastern China.
About 100 top medics have joined a project organized by Beijing Union Clinic Partners, a private medical service provider, to help over 100 poor patients with illnesses in 29 hospitals across Heilongjiang province.
"County hospitals help identify patients and report the details to us. We then organize a video conference in which doctors in Beijing will talk with patients and local doctors," said Wang Rui, founder of the Beijing Union Charity Foundation, which was set up to fund the project.
Many county hospitals in China have the infrastructure and equipment to match those in major cities, and governments provide primary medical insurance. Yet many personnel lack experience, Wang said.
The biggest demand is medical expertise; local doctors need guidance from experts at top hospitals, he added.
"Most of the doctors who are participating in the project are retired, but they are healthy and capable," Wang said. "They enjoy helping the poor because it gives them a strong sense of achievement. It's also a good opportunity for local doctors to learn."