Companies offer free online consultation

Doctors are giving advice over the Internet for people who fear they may have symptoms of pneumonia in a move that will avoid having to see medical staff in close contact. 

A number of online health-care providers are offering online diagnosis for people with mild symptoms amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. 

Weiyi Group, AliHealth and Ping An Good Doctor are among the companies offering free online consultation for those with respiratory or flu symptoms.    

Other digital service providers are providing information on health-care and personal hygiene measures. 

More than 13,000 doctors are available to give advice to Weiyi users on its smartphone app. 

Microblogging site Weibo said it had received 130,000 messages from medical workers and patients for assistance in less developed areas and has been helping charitable organizations verify demand for medical supplies. 

Ping An Good Doctor said a 24-hour hotline (400 181 9191) has been in place since January 26 to provide free advice for Wuhan residents under the guidance of local health care authorities, a measure to avoid face to face contact and overcrowding at hospitals for those who fear they have symptoms of pneumonia. 

Most inquiries, it said, are about how to identify and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

AliHealth said more than 1,000 physicians are currently available, most of them respiratory physicians, and more than 97 percent of inquiries are from Hubei residents. 

A robotic dialogue function has been introduced to offer basic information on fever clinics and news updates.

A dedicated page on Alipay and shopping app Taobao had attracted more than 1.6 million visits as of Tuesday. 

Alibaba’s digital media affiliates, including Youku and UC Browser, are also offering access to such content, as well as services such as ordering the delivery of over-the-counter drugs. 

JD’s health-care service affiliate offers consulting and psychological support for medical workers. 

Doctors’ online instructions should not be regarded as medical prescriptions or official diagnosis, according to the National Health Commission stipulations.