Lanzhou – Jianhong Zhao

“Recognize Our Work and Our Skills”

Jianhong Zhao belongs to a team of radiologists who have made their department number one in Gansu, one of the remote northwestern provinces of China. He is hoping for more international exchange. Radiologists from developed countries should get to know their Chinese colleagues better, he says.


radiology.bayer.com (rbc): How do you network with other institutions here in Lanzhou and its surrounding province Gansu?

Jianhong Zhao (JZ): We are organizing our network with other radiology departments through the Gansu Radiological Society platform. Our hospital takes the lead in this society. In addition, we and three other Lanzhou top hospitals conjoin to educate young radiologists in other remote areas. We create educational material like special case collections. You see a whole row of these books in our department chair’s office.


Digital Connections


rbc: Which role does digitalization play in your work?

JZ: Digitalization-wise, we are a bit behind. We share the images within the three branches of our hospital, but the RIS and PACS of the different hospitals in our area are not connected. If patients come with images from other hospitals, they have to bring their images on a USB stick or a disc.


rbc: Is teleradiology playing a role in your work?

JZ: We have a telemedicine center here on the 17th floor. My colleagues and I get cases transferred from remote areas in North-Eastern China – from the Gansu province, but also from other regions. Other hospitals are connected with hospitals in Beijing. We read, report and discuss them with the referrers. So teleradiology really does play a role in our work.


rbc:  When will the Lanzhou hospitals connect their IT structures?

JZ: The structure within our hospital group is of course already connected, but there is more to come: The government will take the lead in connecting all the hospitals in this province. The service of medical imaging will also be spread out. The details are not yet out there, but the medical imaging platform will be a service for all patients in this province.


rbc: Talking about very remote areas – which role do Apps like WeChat play for professional education?

JZ:  We are doing a lot for education using the Internet and our WeChat account. Our hospital has its own website, we provide educational sessions. We also have plenty of WeChat subscribers from the hospitals in our province – radiologists upload a lot of real cases. The community is closely connected and shares very detailed information about diagnostic methods. Diagnostic accuracy is a core part of our mindset.  


rbc:  Are there groups for patients as well?

JZ: We do not target patients with WeChat, it is for expert communication only, which means radiologists and clinical doctors. They are sharing our experience and lessons learned there.


rbc: Is patient education part of you work as well?

JZ: We are educating patients and their family members, once they are at our hospital, but we are not to reaching out to other patients. Health education is the responsibility of different government layers, associations and community hospitals. They provide special epidemic prevention. There have been parasitic diseases in our rural areas, but things are changing. These diseases are declining as the economic development grows.


Cooperation and Education

rbc: Which political decisions have shaped medicine in Gansu within the last five years?

JZ: I cannot name a special government policy. However, one decision has proven to be particularly important. It encourages hospitals to accept images from other hospitals. When a patient switched hospitals in the past, he had to be scanned again. Images were not accepted recognized, but now they are.


rbc: What do you consider the most important aspect of your work?

JZ: Number one is to gain as much information from the patient as possible; his history, his living habits for example. Number two is cooperating well with clinical doctors; to share our experiences, discuss our concerns and find the best decision together. Number three is continuous medical education. Here in China, we say that a doctor’s job is lifelong learning. So get together every day in the morning and learn each day throughout the year. We are learning from other disciplines, and also from other hospitals in Beijing, Shanghai, Shantou and other places. This is how we eventually became the number one radiology department in the Gansu province. We keep improving.


rbc: What do you want other radiologists around the world to understand about your work?

JZ: I wish that the radiologists from other countries, especially the developed countries in Europe and the US, got to know us better. They should understand that Chinese radiologists in very remote areas are doing the same work their colleagues do in Europe. I would want them to recognize our work, our skills, our professional level here and cooperate with us more.

About Jianhong Zhao


Jianhong Zhao is the radiology department secretary at the Second Hospital Affiliated to Lanzhou University.

The city of Lanzhou, right at the yellow river, is located in Gansu, one of the northwestern provinces of China. It has long been a communication hub between China's Central Plain and northwestern China. It used to be an important point on the Silk Road linking China's ancient capital Xi'an with Central Asia and the Roman Empire. Lanzhou has now again become an international trade hub. It takes a good two-hours by plane from Lanzhou to Beijing.