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Asia Health Policy Program Assembles Conferences in Beijing on Healthy Aging and Primary Care

In the summer of 2018, the Asia Health Policy Program (AHPP) at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (co)hosted two conferences in Beijing. From June 25-26, AHPP hosted “Healthy Aging and Chronic Disease Management in China and India in International Comparison” at the Stanford Center at Peking University in Beijing. Immediately following the event, June 26-27 AHPP cohosted, along with Professor Fang Hai, Peking University China Center for Health Development Studies, the “Fourth Annual Conference on Primary Care and China’s Health System Reform”, focused this year on China’s family doctor system.

Healthy Aging and Chronic Disease

Day one of the Healthy Aging and Chronic Disease Management conference combined discussions of chronic disease control in India and China (part of an ongoing SCPKU Team Innovation faculty fellowship) with a workshop focused on assessing net value of diabetes management across Asia.

Research teams from Hong Kong, South Korea, India, Taiwan, and the United States convened to discuss research on net value analysis of diabetes in their respective countries. The Net Value in Diabetes Management project seeks to develop a method for measuring net value of diabetes internationally­–based on previous methods discussed in an 2009 study by Karen Eggleston and Joseph Newhouse with data from the Mayo Clinic for Type 2 Diabetes.

The research teams provided updates to their calculations from the gathering last year and explained the strengths and weaknesses of their data sets, the risk prediction model they employed or created for their specific population, and the cost effectiveness analyses conducted with their data.

Participants included Kavita Singh from the Public Health Foundation of India, Janet Lam from Hong Kong University, Hongsoo Kim and Wankyo Chung from Seoul National University, Rachel Lu and Ying Isabel Chen of Chang Gung University Taiwan, and Kyueun Lee and Karen Eggleston of Stanford University.

Non-communicable/Chronic Disease Control

The afternoon of day one featured presentations by various representatives from provincial and national-level Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in China regarding non-communicable disease (NCD) control initiatives.

Dong Jianqun from the People’s Republic of China CDC presented the “Effect of Community-Based 5+1 staged diabetes management.” This research project–fielded in sites in three different provinces–involved staged diabetes targeting management. Results showed that examination rates for complications management increased. Fang Le from the Zhejiang Provincial CDC presented updates on community management of NCDs in Zhejiang, including the intensive follow-up system for high risk diabetes patients. Representatives from Shandong University and the Shandong CDC, including Dr. WANG Yan, presented “The Status, Problems, and Determinants of community management and control of diabetes in Shandong Province” while also discussing current policy and implementation.

The afternoon ended in a session comparing health care systems and ongoing initiatives for chronic disease control in China and India. Kavita Singh discussed issues in India’s health system, including high out of pocket expenditure, over-privatization, and large health inequities across states and between urban and rural areas. Singh introduced existing innovations being used, including smartphone-based decision support software in heart disease monitoring. Dong Jianqun and colleagues discussed NCD control in China, including the demonstration areas that have integrated initiatives including better surveillance and management of diabetes and hypertension, and prevention education.

The first conference closed the next morning by bringing together representatives from various Chinese organizations to discuss the current state of primary care, family doctor system, and health care reform within the country. During a highly immersive classroom session for the Diabetes Net Value Teams, Dr. Sanjay Basu shared insights regarding best practices in predictive risk modeling.

China’s family doctor system

Beginning the afternoon of June 26, the second conference was devoted to China’s family doctor system, primary care, and health care reforms.  The event opened with remarks from Zhuang Ning, Deputy Director of the State Department of Health, System Reform Department, about the importance of community health and greater recognition of primary health providers in China.

The director’s remarks were followed by an opening keynote address by Professor MENG Qingyue, Dean of the Peking University School of Public Health and Director of the China Center for Health Development Studies at Peking University. Professor Meng reflected on the role of primary care in the development of China’s health system. Qin Jiangmei, Director of the Community Health Research Center, National Health and Family Planning Commission Health Development Research Center, next introduced the necessity of comprehensive health reform in China as well as funding challenges.

Afterwards, representatives from the Beijing Dongcheng district, Shanghai Changning district,  Xiamen City, and Shenzhen Luohu Hospital Group shared their experiences constructing family doctor systems within their respective regions. Important points stressed by the presenters included consolidation, maintaining a good evaluation system, and establishing trust with their patients.

The day ended with a Primary Medical Care Roundtable Discussion featuring four directors of district-level community health centers. The panelists answered questions concerning the future model of primary care in China, as well as changes they would like to see at the community and policy levels. The district directors advocated that more funds be allocated to general practitioners, believing that they will be the dominant form of primary care in China. Participants also spoke of the additional need for clearer targets to ensure that primary care providers are better funded (so that, with enough time, patients will begin to recognize the importance of the family physician).

The second conference concluded on June 27 by way of a highly engaging classroom session on the continuing collaboration between the Zhejiang Provincial CDC and Stanford University Asia Health Policy Program.

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Related research papers, as well a book on healthy aging through the APARC policy series, are forthcoming. The page will be updated with links when they are made available.