Amid COVID-19 outbreak, China encourages online diagnoses, telehealth services

Spurred by the coronavirus crisis, China is moving for the first time to permit first-time medical diagnoses to be conducted online. The move by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is part of a major new push to move many healthcare services into the digital sphere to ease the burden on clinics and hospitals now and into the future.

The pilot program will enable physicians to consult with and diagnose first-time patients online, and will ensure the services are covered by China’s national health insurance system. Previously, only patients seeking follow up services for certain common and chronic diseases could obtain reimbursement for online medical services.