AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog

Technology to Play Significant Role in Helping Solve China’s Healthcare Woes

As impatient telemedical advocates in America continue to work around barriers to rapid advancement of what they recognize as an historic opportunity to revolutionize the nations delivery of healthcare, medical professionals inside the world’s largest nation look admiringly at the potential that communication technology could have on their nations broken healthcare system.

China’s huge population of 1.4 billion people is scattered throughout one of the planets largest landmasses, creating significant variances in the quality and available of healthcare. In a country without a modern intra-country transportation system of modern highways, closing the distance-gap to receiving medical care can be exponential when compared to countries like the United States.

Technology, from electronic patient records to remote healthcare, is already widely used in developed markets such as the United States and Europe, but China lags far behind much of the developed world. However, China’s healthcare management system is determined to catch-up with the rest of the world. The sector is experiencing a 40 percent annual growth and is expected to reach $38 billion by 2019, although progress is hampered by more than money, distance and time.

The country’s government owned healthcare system is strapped with chaotic patient data information systems, underfunded rural healthcare facilities and overburdened urban hospitals. China’s more than 25,000 hospitals are facing a serious shortage of doctors and healthcare professionals. Low pay and long hours often exaggerate an already stressed doctor-patient relationship and magnify the difficulties of accessibility and quality of service. Yan Jianhua, who oversees the remote healthcare program at the state-run Hangzhou hospital says, “Technologies like remote health fit China’s current situation because we have a large country with a rural-urban gap and medical resources spread unequally,”

A successful technology makeover will be expensive, requiring the state, private investors and corporations to step up with the $5.5 billion in estimated new capital that will be needed over the next three years to help close the gap.

Communication technology has a key role to play in resolving some of the issues the world’s largest country is facing. It will all take time, and money but Beijing appears to recognize that technology is a potentially significant ground gainer for solving many of its healthcare challenges.

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