Mr. TAN, Tak Liong
(HK, China)

Chinese Medicine Practitioner;
Research Assistant

Virtue Chinese Medicine Ltd.

Mr. TAN, Tak Liong Photo


TAN Tak-Liong

Other Author:


Author Affiliation:

Virtue Chinese Medicine Ltd.


COVID-19, Remote TCM, Computer Aided Consultation


“Correlation of all four examinations” (四診合參) : Inspection(望), Listening and Smelling Examination(聞), Enquiry(問) and Palpation(切), is the golden rule of traditional Chinese medical diagnostics. Supposedly, TCM must be face-to-face and requires direct interaction between the doctor and the patient. Yet, the COVID outbreak has opened up a window for a different approach. In the first 4 months of 2022, Hong Kong’s public health system was hard hit by the fifth wave of COVID where thousands of patients needed to be hospitalised or treated. While the public health services were taking various measures to increase their capacity, many patients turned to seek private clinic services in the meantime. However, due to the transmission nature of COVID and Ordinance 599, patients who are “close contacts” or are “confirmed/suspected cases” have to be isolated. The situation has given rise to a high demand for remote consultation and many clinics including TCM have started to provide this service.

A common belief is that remote consultation can be done conveniently via “video call.” In fact, to this date, the speed of internet is still not good enough to support an effective remote consultation. In this article, I would like to share my experience of remote consultation on hundreds of COVID cases using phone calls and tongue images. After that I have worked with an IT consultant to design a framework which will enhance remote consultation going forward. The framework should be able to allow more cases to be handled in a timely manner, and hopefully facilitate better diagnosis and prescription by early 2023 . Lastly, I would also like to explore how AI technology can be adopted in the future for both remote consultation and tele-healthcare.



Funding Source:


Conflict of Interests:

The author reports no conflicts of interest related to this study.


Tan Tak Liong is a registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner in the HKSAR. He obtained his Master in Chinese Medicine degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In addition, he also received a computer related MPhil degree from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University under the supervision of Dr. Yung Kai-leung. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate in the area of "AI TCM diagnosis".