Press Releases

CUHK and Shantou University Establish First Telemedicine Link between the two Universities

06 May 1999


The Faculty of Medicine of The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Shantou University Medical College were linked today at the first ever telemedicine conference between the two universities. The conference was held to commemorate the opening of the Orthopaedic Learning Centre, Department of Orthopaedics & Traumatology, CUHK which was made possible by the kind donations from Dr Li Ka-shing, Chairman of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited and Honorary Chairman of Shantou University Council, and other donors.

Dr Li, Mr Lin Xingsheng, Former Vice-Chairman of Guangdong Province Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Vice-Chairman of Shantou University Council, Mr Zhuang Lixiang, Party Secretary of Shantou City and Vice-Chairman of Shantou University Council, Mr Zhou Rifang, Mayor of Shantou City and Chancellor of Shantou University Council, Professor Leung Ping-chung, Professor of Orthopaedics & Traumatology, CUHK,as well as Professor Bruce Ponder from Cambridge University who was attending Shantou University’s first Visiting Scholar Programme, joined the conference in Shantou.

Representing the Faculty of Medicine, CUHK at the Prince of Wales Hospital were Professor Joseph Lee, Dean, Professor Sydney Chung, Associate Dean, Professor Jack Cheng, Chairman, Department of Orthopaedics & Traumatology and Professor Magnus Hjelm, Chairman, Department of Chemical Pathology.

At the Conference, the Department of Orthopaedics & Traumatology, CUHK introduced the limb lengthening technique in the treatment of severe limb length inequality in children with case illustration. The role of the rehabilitation team – physiotherapist, occupational therapist and prosthetist-orthotist in the management of such cases was explained. The use of CAD-CAM technology in the manufacturing of Brace for the treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis was demonstrated. The case of an orthopaedic patient in Shantou was also discussed.

Telemedicine has made rapid progress in Hong Kong over the last five years and The Chinese University of Hong Kong has been a major force behind this development. The University has established an Area of Excellence in Telemedicine to support telemedical research and tele-education for health professionals. Networking facilities for audiovisual communication by the Internet, ISDN lines and satellites were installed in its Faculty of Medicine and teaching hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital, for interdepartmental and external telemedical consultations, teleconferencing and teleeducation. Videolinks have been set up with various sites in the Mainland such as Beijing Hospital and PLA General Hospital. The Hong Kong Telemedicine Association was established in 1996 under the auspices of the University, uniting people from all professions in promoting telemedicine in Hong Kong. Since 1996, six international global telemedicine conferences have been held by the University, the largest of all being the “Moving with the Sun 97” conference which was the first 24-hour telemedicine conference linking up 19 medical centres across the world.

Telemedicine links medical experts in different parts of the world together by using high speed multimedia network such as Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) and Virtual Private Network (VPN) as communication media in conjunction with compressed video conference technology. It provides quality consultative service to the patients regardless of time and distance.

Dr Li Ka-shing has strongly supported the development of medical service and education. Seeing that there was not yet any telemedicine link in Guangdong, he actively promoted the establishment of a link at Shantou University to raise the standards of medical education. Full-fledged telemedicine facilities with links to CT and MR rooms were installed there with donation from Dr Li Ka-shing. The facilities not only link Shantou University to major medical centres of excellence across the world but also can be used for tele-education, continuing education and exchange with other universities both in China and worldwide.

Collaborations between CUHK and Shantou University have been established since 1998. With a generous donation of HK$40 million from Li Ka-shing Foundation Limited, the Faculty of Medicine, CUHK and Shantou University Medical College joined hands to establish a world-class international eye centre in Shantou to provide quality patient care, outstanding training and education prorammes as well as to conduct innovative research work, in particular, collaborative research between Hong Kong and the mainland. Today’s telemedicine conference marked the beginning of a new collaboration between the two medical faculties. The telemedicine link established will further enhance the regular academic exchange, clinical consultations and discussions between the two faculties.