The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic affected business activities and forced organizations to review their operation. More patients with COVID-19 complications sought treatment as the spread intensified. Although the healthcare management adjusted their operations to accommodate more patients, travel restrictions and measures to maintain social distance meant hospitals had to innovate ways of providing health services to patients with a range of health conditions. The JD health and wellness center integrated technology to help it reduce overcrowding in its facility. The hospital launched a free online consultation platform on January 26, 2020. Patients would utilize the platform to consult physicians when they experienced fatigue, fever, cough, and diarrhea. On February 6, the facility expanded the scope of consultation to include all diseases. The move enables people across the country to access timely and convenient consultation.
Accessing specialist healthcare services is a challenge for patients such as MS. Wu Yan. The patient suffers from Vitiligo, a chronic skin disease. Yan hails from a very remote location in China and constantly sought healthcare services from the local health facility in Zhangzhou. However, the caregivers in the facility had no expertise to treat her condition. The physicians had prescribed her medication that failed to improve her health condition. Instead, she experienced severe side effects, which made her seeks healthcare services in Fujian province. For the past four years, Yan had traveled to Xiamen City to seek assistance in a level three-tier hospital. The facility was about 100Km away, and this movement had financially exhausted her. China’s healthcare system resources were distributed unequally, with villages having tier one, town tier two, and cities tier-three healthcare facilities.
The launch of online consultation services by JD healthcare would solve the unequal distribution of healthcare resources in China. The caregivers embraced the initiative, and about 32,000 doctors serving all over the country joined JD’s internet hospital. The move allowed Yan to receive professional consultation services, which was difficult to access previously. Among the personnel providing consultancy services, about sixty-two percent were serving in tier-three hospitals. Yan had uploaded her medical records in the online platform, and Dr. Xiaoyan Wang reviewed her case. The dermatologist provided Yan with a medical plan that was most suitable for her condition. Within one year, Yan’s condition had significantly improved.
Internet consultations have gained popularity during the coronavirus period, with JD healthcare providing over two million consultancy services. As a result, the hospital has permanently employed about two hundred physicians to provide consultation around the clock when doctors from other institutions are unavailable. In addition, the facility has incorporated hotline services that will provide JD health and wellness training to patients in need of psychological support. Medical staff requiring support will have priority as they work in a high-stress environment and are more critical in fighting the pandemic. The facility has also partnered with suppliers to ensure timely drug delivery to the patient and ensures that drug prices remain affordable.
Cooperation in the provision of healthcare has enabled JD to improve the consultancy services. The facility partnered with First People Hospital of Suqian, allowing the patients to receive online consultation. The partnership also allowed Suqian Hospital to receive payment from patients who obtained their services. JD has also partnered with the local government in areas such as Tangshan and Beihai city. The partnership enables patients located in rural parts of China and those with access to the internet to connect to receive JD health and wellness training conveniently in their homes. Lately, JD health separated from its parent company JD.com and issued public shares, enabling the facility to raise $1billion. The facility continues to explore expansion areas to allow more patients to access online digital consultations and alleviate the imbalance in medical access within China.