Family doctors help 'better manage' health
Over the years, Shanghai health authorities have worked to improve the family doctor system.[Photo/Xinhua]
For Shanghai retiree Li Feng, who has coronary heart disease, finding a doctor to renew his prescription is no longer a headache thanks to the city's family doctor system.
"Hospitals and resources in suburban areas are sparse, which means we used to have to travel to large hospitals downtown," said the 71-year-old, who lives in Longbai community in Minhang district.
In 1995, Li and his wife, Shen Liuliu, who is now 68, relocated to the suburbs. The couple used to travel to hospitals in downtown areas twice a month to renew prescriptions.
"It's so crowded in large hospitals. It often exhausted me," Li added.
However, things changed in 2011 when the city implemented a new medical service model based on community health centers.
That same year, the city took a national lead in piloting a family doctor system in communities. The system aims to make life more convenient for residents who need medical services.
Under the system, residents can sign a contract with a family doctor working at a community health center. When they have health problems, they can contact their contracted family doctor for diagnosis and treatment, with patients transferred to higher-level hospitals if necessary.
The family doctor system mainly benefits people aged 60 or above and those with chronic diseases, according to the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission.