China’s first smart hospital goes online in Guangdong Province


The AI-powered hospital features intelligent assistants, mobile payments and diagnoses, CT and x-ray analysis



On Apr. 2, China’s first AI-powered hospital went online. According to a statement released by Guangdong Second Provincial General Hospital (link in Chinese), AI has been applied to ten major areas including triage, payment, imaging diagnosis, and logistics. This hi-tech innovation is expected to reduce wait times, help doctors make more accurate diagnoses, and let patients receive care through a mobile platform, without their ID card or cash.

Patients can access care without entering the hospital. All they need to do is open WeChat, enter the public number of the hospital, and select “Intelligent Doctor”. They can then list their symptoms to receive a diagnosis in three minutes or less. Patients can then register for an appointment on WeChat, pay in advance with WeChat Pay, and show up to the hospital for their appointment without the long lines and headaches too often associated with medical care in China.


More than 11.8 million medical terms were added to the AI system


Once in the hospital, the patient shows their phone to the doctor who is then guided through a list of prescriptions and medications that can treat the patient. After confirming symptoms in-person, the doctor can then print prescriptions on the spot, and patients can pay for added costs using Alipay, WeChat, or credit through Alipay’s Ant Financial.

To train the Artificial Intelligence system that assists doctors at the hospital, Lian Wanmin, Director of Information at Guangdong Second Provincial Hospital, introduced it to thousands of electronic medical records from 2005 to 2017. More than 11.8 million medical terms were added to the AI system to establish a knowledge map for diagnosing disease.

To ensure the accuracy of the AI assistant, the hospital enlisted experts to test the model. Dr. Deng Wei, an expert in big data and artificial intelligence who received a PhD from Carnegie Mellow University was integral to the project. Prior to this project, Mr. Wei was a chief architect at Oracle and technical director at Baidu. The project team states that the model makes diagnoses of over 200 diseases with 90% accuracy.

Hospital’s AI robot Xiaoyi passed China’s national medical licensing test



It’s not just consultations that are AI-powered in the smart hospital. The hospital has also enlisted AI assistants to help doctors read CTs and x-rays. The machine learning powered vision can detect nodules less than 10mm in size. In addition, a robot named XiaoYi assists surgeons in the operating and supply rooms. Xiaoyi was developed by Tsinghua University and iFlytek and passed the national medical licensing test in China with a score 90 points above the required 360.

China’s first AI hospital could bode well for the country, which suffers from a poor ratio of medical professionals to patients. The World Health Organisation estimated that in 2015 there were only 1.5 physicians for every 1,000 people in China, compared with 2.5 in the US and 2.8 in Britain.


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