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Hundreds of Chinese and American experts shared insights on 9th U.S.-China Health Forum in Wuhan

The 9th U.S.-China Health Forum was held in Wuhan, Hubei from 2nd to 3rd Nov 2019. Hundreds of experts and scholars from China and the United States attended the event and discussed various topics around public health improvement and global health development. The Forum was directed by the National Health Commission (NHC) and People’s Government of Hubei Province, hosted by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) & Peking Union Medical College (PUMC), and Wuhan University, and organized by the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University and the School of Public Health, PUMC.

Leaders and guests from the above organizations congratulated the Forum on its success in their speeches in the opening ceremony and are determined and enthusiastic to contribute to a healthy Hubei and China.

Zeng Yixin, Vice Minister of NHC and Fellow of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), said in his speech:

“People's health is an important symbol of national prosperity and strength. With economic and social development and improvement of people's living standards, health needs are becoming increasingly diversified and differentiated. This in return puts forward new requirements and challenges for the medical innovation in China. NHC attaches great importance to healthcare innovation. It not only expedites the formation of a healthcare innovation system in collaboration with universities, but also actively promotes the transfer and popularization of technology. We should encourage exchanges with relevant academic institutions at home and abroad with a more open, inclusive and cooperative mind in the new era, hence making great progress in the development of health sciences, personnel training and sci-tech innovation.”

Yang Yunyan, Vice Governor of People’s Government of Hubei Province, said:

“The Hubei Provincial Party Committee and government places high value on health. We stick to the prevention-oriented approach and undertake ongoing efforts to improve patients’ medical experience. We formulated the Healthy Hubei 2030 Action Plan and are now transforming from treatment-centered to health-centered. This conference will help Hubei draw on the health experiences from advanced countries and regions, which I believe will improve the health services of Hubei in all dimensions. We will also continue to increase the supply of high-quality medical resources to enable a healthy Hubei.”

Dou Xiankang, President of Wuhan University and CAS Fellow, pointed out:

“Health is an inevitable requirement for the all-round development and a common pursuit of mankind. In recent years, Wuhan University's strength and core competence have been continuously improved, especially in the gathering of world-class talents. Both of our medical and life sciences related disciplines are in the top 1% of the world. Besides, the University has become partners with leading domestic and foreign universities and institutions. The Forum will foster the sound and rapid development of medical education in Wuhan University and open a new chapter for China-U.S. health exchanges and cooperation.”

Wu Peixin, Secretary of the Party Committee of CAMS & PUMC, said:

“Founded in 1917 with a donation from the Rockefeller Foundation of the United States, PUMC has nurtured many talents for China's medical cause since its inception 100 years ago. The establishment of PUMC is a good example of China-U.S. medical exchanges and an innovative practice of modern medical education in China.”

Zhang Jin, Party Secretary of Health Commission of Hubei Province, remarked:

“Health has been prominently featured in the agenda of Hubei Provincial Party Committee and government. We have made Healthy Hubei part of our economic and social development plan and set up a system for monitoring, evaluation and supervision. With effective implementation of the plan, the main health indicators of residents in Hubei perform better than the national average level, ranking high among provinces in Central China. Currently it is critical for us to build a healthy Hubei with full strength. This event will continue to facilitate health exchanges and cooperation between China and the U.S. Both countries are facing new challenges in healthcare, thus innovative solutions can be shared to improve health and well-being of all.”

Gauden Galea, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in China, mentioned:

“China's healthcare reform has been recognized and praised by the WHO over the past 10 years and provides a good example for global health governance. Meanwhile, China and the U.S. face similar challenges such as aging and chronic diseases. We need to work together to build a platform for sharing resources, promote reform of the healthcare system, eradicate poverty and improve global health services.”

Liu Yuanli, Founder of the U.S.-China Health Forum, Dean of the School of Public Health of PUMC and President of the Chinese Aging Well Association (CAWA), stated:

“It benefits people in China and the U.S. and helps develop mutual trust and friendship to encourage health exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. The Forum aims to build a platform for international and cross-sector communication and partnerships to enable joint efforts of industry, academia, research & development and politics in healthcare.”

The panels of the Forum include further reform of healthcare, modern hospital management, prevention and control of chronic diseases and health management, mental health and mental illness prevention and control, county health and rural access to healthcare, elderly care, improved tumor medical service, Healthy China · Better Healthcare. Many leaders and experts offer ideas of their own to help solve the problems.

Guo Yanhong, inspector of Bureau of Medical Administration of NHC, argued:

“The system of modern hospital management should be problem-oriented.”

“Public hospitals still face many enormous difficulties in the process of reform and development. On the one hand, the external system and mechanism still need to be improved. On the other hand, the internal management and operating mechanism of public hospitals have not yet been fully established. We should be problem-oriented and cope with power, capability, incentive and pressure of hospitals in the operating and governance system and internal management. We can then build a system of modern hospital management.”

Wang Bin, Deputy Director of Bureau of Disease Prevention and Control of NHC, said:

“Guided by the Healthy China Initiative, we must do a good job in disease prevention and control.”

“The State Council’s General Office has published a guideline on measures to implement the Healthy China 2030 Initiative in this July. Of the 15 special campaigns, four featured the prevention and cure for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers, and chronic respiratory diseases. The focus of the campaigns is “less disease”.

Health China action emphasizes that individuals shall be the first person responsible for their own health. To make this happen, it is necessary to carry out health education, raise awareness among individuals and help them develop ability to maintain their health. This is what medical staff, the government and even the whole society must do. Early detection and diagnosis are the key for the prevention and control of chronic diseases, which are incumbent upon the healthcare professionals. The hospital managers should also gradually shift the focus to disease prevention.

The whole society, including policy makers, medical personnel, need to act and take part in the initiative and creating a healthy environment. We need to bring about ongoing shift from treatment-centered to prevention-centered. It’s fair to say that it’s an aspiration of medical practitioner and a goal we should strive for to help people stay healthy.”

Wang Fei, Level 4 Researcher of Department of Medical Resources, Bureau of Medical Administration of NHC, remarked:

“We need to beef up performance assessment in public hospitals to further improve medical services. It needs systematic efforts to improve medical services. A new Three-year Action Plan was launched in 2018, while a circular to press for rigorous performance assessment of tertiary public hospitals was published in 2019, which aims to propel the high-quality development of medical services in public hospitals.

More attention is paid in the plan announced in 2018 to exploring and summarizing high-quality and efficient medical service models and applying them in clinical practice. It highlights the emergency treatment, multidisciplinary diagnosis and treatment, anesthesia, ambulatory surgery, long-term drug use, elderly care and other aspects of medical services. We also take patient satisfaction as an important indicator to evaluate the improved medical services.

On the other front, how medical services are improved is used as a critical indicator to assess the tertiary hospitals. There is a long way to go. We need to figure out how to cooperate, reflect the labor value of medical staff, and streamline the internal management of the hospitals. By doing so, we can facilitate the high-quality development of tertiary public hospitals and establish a leading and efficient healthcare system to support the implementation of Healthy China strategy.”

Deng Shaoping, Director and Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Sichuan Academy of Medical Sciences & Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital, said:

“We need to reinforce the President responsibility system under the leadership of the Party Committee. Public hospitals implement the president responsibility system under the leadership of the Party Committee, which is to comprehensively strengthen the leadership of the party and reshape the hospital management system. This is the strategic blueprint and thinking. Specifically, the Party Committee plays a leading role in guidance, management, decision-making, reform and implementation. Under the leadership of the Party Committee, the president of a hospital, as the legal representative, is fully responsible for the medical treatment, teaching, research and administrative management.

The question is: how can we integrate the Party affairs and hospital business in this new era? In my opinion, we should give full play to the Party Committee's overall leading role in public hospitals and establish a sound decision-making system of Party Committee and administrative team in hospitals. Not only do we need to incorporate Party leadership into the regulations and management of hospitals, but we also need to emphasize collective and scientific decisions and strictly implement democratic centralism. Let me take Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital as an example. First, we fulfill the Party Committee’s responsibilities and play an important role in hospital management. Second, we have established and implemented the performance assessment system in terms of institutional development. We inject innovation to community Party affairs to cultivate talents, especially mid-level cadres, by holding regular activities such as education workshop with various topics and health poverty alleviation. Third, we bring in new methods to prevent corruption, such as combing through regulations of the hospital and supervising major projects.”

Wang Hongliang, Vice President of the First Hospital of Jilin University, said:

“We must carry on the spirit of Norman Bethune and serve patients with heart and soul. In terms of hospital services, we have constantly improved the process of doctor’s office visiting and rebuild the diagnosis and treatment area. This is to make sure that patients with one disease can go through the medical process within one area. We also set up service posts to guide patients through the process effectively. Moreover, we continue to upgrade the hospital management and information system to provide easier services for patients. Meanwhile, we provide nursing accompany in the emergency area throughout the process. It effectively shortens the time of treatment and improves patients’ medical experience.

Our hospital is built as a regional medical center in accordance with the requirements by NHC to provide healthcare for Jilin Province and surrounding areas. On this basis, we launch emergency platform 96608 with the Department of Public Security "110" so that emergency patients can get timely and effective medical guidance. The case can then be connected to the regional medical consortium to make timely, effective and safe treatment possible. We also actively carry out ambulatory surgeries to shorten the hospital stay and reduce medical costs. As a public hospital, we constantly take patients’ new needs into consideration and strive to provide better healthcare for them while upholding medical ethics.”

The conference also organized several thematic round table discussions, in which guests offered revealing insights.

Liu Xinmin, President of Peking University First Hospital, said, “We need to focus on implementation and details. Here is one simple example. Patients had to pay 50 cents in cash for medical record in a Beijing hospital and this could be very inconvenient. Now we offer WeChat, Alipay and other payment methods, as well as electronic medical records and vending machines. Apart from innovation, we need to emphasize implementation and details to provide practical healthcare.”

Wang Qian, Party Secretary of Zhujiang Hospital of Southern Medical University, added:

“The key lies in the quality of healthcare. I think quality is the most important in the campaign to improve healthcare. For example, ambulatory care unit can effectively solve patients’ difficulties through the whole process of diagnosis and treatment. In addition, management innovation is the foundation of a hospital. Innovative measures like regional medical consortium and medical insurance design can greatly help improve the medical services.”

Ouyang Wen, Vice President of the Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, mentioned:

“We need to overcome the difficulties in the evaluation system. Patients are highly satisfied with our hospital thanks to various comprehensive measures, including focus on improved medical quality, information-based medical reform and emphasis on drug safety. I believe the biggest challenge is the implementation of the medical evaluation system. On the one hand, we should put the performance assessment of tertiary public hospitals into practice. On the other hand, we need to address the question of how to deal with the individual cases in comprehensive evaluation. When these questions are answered, many problems will be resolved easily.”

Xi Huan, Executive Vice President of Beijing Hospital, said:

“We should embrace new concepts, pay attention to implementation and innovate. First of all, we have to realize that a hospital is a healthcare provider. However, we provide more than technical services. Hence, we need to improve medical services from various aspects. Second, we should attach great importance to details and specific work to implement relevant plans. With regard to innovation, we need to look for the breakthrough of problems and take the initiative to solve them.”

Lu Zexun, Head of Department of Social Medicine and Health Management, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), added:

“We should continue to increase access to healthcare at the grassroot level. I think it is quite right that the campaign to improve healthcare is gradually penetrating into the grassroots. The ultimate goal is to help people maintain health and gain a sense of access. Therefore, it’s essential to increase the capacity of community health services. It also needs continuous innovation and further efforts to boost the campaign.”

It is reported that the annual event has been successfully held for 9th straight year. The 10th Forum will be held in Guangzhou, Guangdong in 2020.

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