IT TACKLES HEALTHCARE REFORM
In addition to the central government and domestic and overseas investors, the push to reform China’s medical system is coming from the country’s information technology companies.
Private investors and corporations are putting money into developing the IT healthcare sector, with investment predicted to double to $5.6 billion by 2017, according to analytics firm International Data Corp (IDC). International companies getting into the market include IBM Corp, Microsoft Corp, BT Group and Siemens AG. In China, China Mobile, Huawei Technology Co Ltd and ZTE Corp are among companies competing, as well as online sites.
Alipay, the e-payment system launched by Alibaba Group Ltd, began a project in July that allows patients to book appointments at select hospitals through a smartphone app.
Tencent’s WeChat launched a competing mobile app, Smart Hospital, for booking appointments at participating hospitals in the southern city of Guangzhou.
Alibaba is also testing a mobile app for customers to fill prescriptions and find discounts on medications. Using their phone’s camera, customers would send photos of prescriptions to be filled to nearby pharmacies to check availability and prices.