WHAT HCPS IN CHINA ARE DOING ON THE FRONT LINE
Since the COVID-19 outbreak started in China, European countries have closed their borders in response to the pandemic. As of 22nd May , the open data source has shown that many countries all around the world have been hit by COVID-19, with more than 5 million confirmed cases and more than 300,000 mortalities, with both numbers still rising steeply. There is no doubt that Tedros Adhanom, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, was right when he declared we are in “the defining global health crisis of our time”.
The data, however, suggests one positive aspect: the coronavirus pandemic has been well controlled in China since February 11th, with a slow increase in confirmed cases. This change has drawn the attention of many to understanding China’s approach as European countries continue to fight the pandemic.
CREATION.co dedicated a week to research and innovate on the COVID-19 conversation from healthcare professionals (HCPs) globally to support healthcare companies and NGOs. When observing the healthcare professionals’ conversations, my curiosity drove me to frame the research question on the experience of COVID-19 in China: What can we learn from HCPs in China who are on the front line?
Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, launched an online platform for HCPs in China to share their experiences with global doctors and nurses. To date, five top Chinese hospitals have partnered with the Alibaba initiative.
Knowledge is power! We launched an online platform for doctors and nurses around the world to exchange ideas, lessons and know-how to fight the virus. We welcome all hospitals to join Chinese hospitals on this open platform 👉 https://t.co/WfQEbdmgym. One world, one fight!
— Jack Ma (@JackMa) March 26, 2020
A leading Chinese hospital has summarized their experiences into a handbook called the Global MediXchange for Combating COVID-19 (GMCC) to help combat the global outbreak.
Handbook of COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment sponsored by #JackMaFoundation and #AlibabaFoundation, compiled by experts from the First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University available below#JackMa #MediXchange @foundation_ma @AlibabaGroup @dingtalkhttps://t.co/msQ9iOkjfd pic.twitter.com/ZqCxwg2RNl
— Zhejiang University (@ZJU_China) March 24, 2020
What do HCPs outside China think?
To understand the value of the handbook, we looked at the response of HCPs around the globe on Twitter. Matt Daniels, a UK Cardiologist, shared his view saying the handbook ‘is worth its weight in gold’.
This booklet is worth its weight in gold, thanks for making it possible @JackMa – hospitalists please RT and share with your team.
— Matt Daniels MD PhD (@cardiacpolymath) March 18, 2020
Richard Horton, an editor at The Lancet Global health, tweeted to raise awareness of the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for primary care workers in the UK. In response to this, Tawfique Daneshmend, a clinical physician at Nuffield Health Exeter Hospital, linked to the handbook calling it “So so practical”.
#covid19UK In complete contrast, look at the 60-page free book by the Chinese Hospital team. So so practical e.g. how to set up and run fever clinics. Made available free by @JackMa https://t.co/QmNgGnjmO5
— Tawfique (@Daneshmend) March 19, 2020
CHINA HCPS COLLABORATE GLOBALLY
With so much COVID-19 news and information on the internet, online healthcare professional networks can help to cut through the noise. We have seen HCPs in China establishing special interest groups both in public and in private networks. One example is DingTalk, a platform designed for HCPs in China to share practical knowledge about COVID-19.
To understand more I looked into the Alibabacloud platform, and was granted access to the channel due to the research I was carrying out for this article. It surprised me that there were lots of doctors from all over the world, such as Italy, Portugal and Spain who were also using the platform.
Their conversations often were related to clinical treatments and drugs. They were seeking evidence and asking for reports to help convince their teams about the efficacy of some specific drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. There were also some HCP conversations on Twitter about these drugs.
Chinese experts met in order to give answers when there were questions of whether some treatment solutions involved risks. The global collaboration was not limited only to Q&A sessions, but HCPs are also supporting each other with frequent live broadcasting and one-on-one online consultations.
One doctor from Peru posted on DingTalk that he was desperate to have an online consultation with a doctor in China. This doctor described a rapidly worsening situation in Peru relating to COVID-19.
Work together and share experiences
“In order to win this inevitable battle and fight against COVID-19, we must work together and share our experiences around the world”, states the Alibabacloud website which resonates with WHO Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s message that “We’re all in this together. And we can only succeed together”. Over the past few months that is what we have seen from hospitals and HCPs in China through their online activities on open and closed networks.