Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Private Beijing clinic hopes to be model for primary care

An  new private clinic from United Family Healthcare (UFH) that has opened its doors to patients in Beijing's Central Business District aims to be a model for community-based primary care rather than hospital care.
"Everyone outside China knows what an outpatient clinic is, and the first person you see when you are sick is your local doctor at your local clinic, which is much more efficient," says family medicine physician Dr Richard Saint Cyr, UFH's clinical marketing and communications director.
"Everyone in China wants to go to a hospital as they think little clinics aren't very good."
In fact, 90 to 95 percent of what people see a doctor for can be treated at the clinic, such as vaccinations or routine checkups.
"We definitely want to be a model for that in China," said Saint Cyr. 
 While it is easy to market an outpatient clinic to expats, it takes more effort to convince Chinese people to go to private clinics, he admitted. One of the most effective ways to inform Chinese people is through social media channels, such as Sina Weibo. There, doctors can answer questions from their followers and tell people to come in for a visit.
"Anyone who is used to going to a private clinic would find it hard to go back to busy and crowded hospitals in China," he said.
The new clinic provides a full continuum and wider variety of care to those living and working in the bustling area.
As UFH's sixth satellite clinic in Beijing, the CBD clinic offers a range of health care services including primary care, pediatrics, OB/GYN and internal medicine.
With an open, over-the-counter pharmacy and a laboratory, the 300-square-meter clinic can also provide support services such as ultrasounds, blood and urine tests and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The appointment-based clinic, staffed with bilingual doctors and nurses, offers a much more relaxing atmosphere compared with the long queues and noisy environments seen in many local hospitals.
"To have a satellite community clinic in many parts of Beijing is definitely one of our goals. The CBD clinic is in the perfect location as it is next to Central Park and Chaowai SOHO, and a lot of people [living here] already go to our clinics," said Saint Cyr.
The largest foreign-invested health care provider in China, UFH has been providing an international standard of care for both Chinese and expats in five cities since 1997 and is the only network of hospitals in China to receive a multi-city JCI accreditation of quality and safety.
Source: Global Times

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