Chinese people, who are now becoming increasingly tech-savvy, are embracing internet-based medical care.
According to a recent survey conducted by global market consultancy Accenture, internet-based healthcare is an emerging trend in China. The survey showed that people use the internet to access various healthcare services and get health-related information.
Nearly 80 percent of the 12,009 respondents indicated that they had registered for online healthcare services via a computer. They also said they were more satisfied with the services they received.
Zheng You, an investment consultant manager of an online finance company in Shanghai, said online registration is the biggest benefit of internet healthcare. “If you have been to a public hospital in China, you will know how long the queue is. Most of the time is spent waiting while the real diagnosis time is very limited. But for most of working people, time is their most precious commodity. Online registration can greatly enhance efficiency,” he said.
About 70 percent of the interviewees have opted for online medical services via a mobile app or WeChat. Some 75 percent search for medication and information on medication online. Up to 60 percent said they have used “online doctor” consulting services, of which only 5 percent said they are unsatisfied with the services.
As many as 98 percent of the respondents have shown interest in using internet-based healthcare services in the future. The demand is greater for registration services, online medical consultation, authoritative medical information, online diagnosis, and treatment and post-treatment management.
As the survey concluded, “internet hospitals” come with various advantages, including saving patients from a long waiting time, allowing them to choose a convenient time to see a doctor and to select medical experts from across the country, preventing cross-infection, giving them privacy and so on.
While technology-based innovative services have revolutionized healthcare in China, a number of challenges remain and concerns about them are expressed.
About 55 percent said they miss face-to-face interaction with doctors. About 52 percent expressed worries about no direct examination. Half of the interviewees were not sure if their online medical care would be covered under social health insurance or commercial insurance system.
And 39 percent are worried about the disclosure of personal information.
“Admittedly, China’s medical care reforms have not yet been able to address the difficulties and inconveniences faced by patients. But the expectations of the people provide clear directions for the government to focus on as it works on improving the healthcare system,” said Kher Tean Chen, life sciences lead and managing director of Accenture Greater China.