Physicians to receive hospital shares as payment
Shanghai International Medical Center recently announced a new system that will allow experienced physicians to offer their skills for shares in the hospital, the latest move by the city to test medical reform and meet growing diversified medical needs.
“The new mode, which has already been very common in developed countries, is still fresh in China,” said Zhang Chengyu, president of the medical center. “Under the new mode, physicians will become shareholders, and our center will provide a wider development platform for physicians’ career path development and economic achievements.”
The medical center, a private hospital, officially opened in March 2014, is located in the Pudong International Medical Zone, one of the city’s two medical zones where private and joint-venture hospitals offer high-end medical and healthcare services.
The medical center is seen as an experimental plot for the city to deepen its medical reform through exploring more innovative ways in operation and management that differ from most traditional public hospitals.
For example, the center now is testing the city’s reform scheme allowing physicians to practice medicine in more than one medical facility. So far, more than 100 top doctors from the city’s leading public hospitals have been working at Shanghai International Medical Center, which provides a comfortable environment and better service for patients that are absent from traditional hospitals.
It has always been a headache for most Chinese patients to see a doctor in Chinese public hospitals that are often crowded every day. Patients have to wait for several hours to see a doctor but the communication with the doctor is brief. For patients who want to see top doctors, they have to make an appointment far in advance, some even up to half a year.
“The medical service time for each patient in our center is at least 20 minutes, which allows patients to have more communication with doctors. This is very hard to achieve in most public hospitals,” Zhang said.
The center recently introduced a new service to narrow patient’s waiting time for surgery. Patients can send their medical treatment records and related test reports to the center via Internet, and they can book a surgical operation as soon as they meet surgery requirements.
In recent years, China’s authorities have begun to encourage more social capital to enter into medical service sectors that expand and enrich medical resources and help meet diversified demand.
According to officials, patients with special medical demands willing to pay higher costs flow into the high-end medical service market, while traditional public hospitals work to meet residents’ basic medical needs.
“The high-end medical service should act as complement to the existing medical system, for higher end income social groups,” said Gao Jiechun, president of Hospital Management Institute, Fudan University.
So far, Shanghai has a number of private and joint-venture hospitals and clinics offering highend medical services. Previously, German healthcare operator and medical product provider Artemed Group also announced that it would set up a hospital in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone.
According to the research data from Shanghai Development and Reform Commission, the high-end medical service market size will reach 16.5 to 18.5 billion yuan.
Officials said the supply of high-end medical service is still lagging, and do not fully meet needs.
In addition to encourage private and joint-venture hospitals to meet growing high-end medical demand, Shanghai is also actively promoting the progress of cutting-edge technology in medical treatment.
Earlier in May, the Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center (SPHIC), also known as the Proton and Heavy Ion Center of Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center (FUSCC), which offers particle therapy to cancer patients, announced its launch in the city. As the state-of-art technology to deal with tumors, it uses particle therapy to treat cancerous cells by firing beams of protons or heavy ions. This technology is available in very few countries, such as Germany and Japan.
By the end of 2014, there were a total of 123,193 patients around the world who accepted proton or heavy-ion therapy treatments.
According to the center, a single course of particle therapy is priced at 278,000 yuan per person. The center has received several thousands of on-site and telephone enquiries in the first 11 days until May 21.
“As of May 20, we received 12 patients, aged between 23 and 68,” said Lyu Lilang, vicepresident of the Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center.
“Different from most Chinese medical centers, we will establish a long-term treatment relationship with our clients even after they finish their treatments,” said Lyu.
She added that the center will track the conditions of their patients for as long as five years to evaluate their recovery and treatment effects, as well as carry out future research and build development records.
The center is expected to accept 1,000 patients per year after its first three years of trial operation.
“There will be great demand for such high-end medical services in the future. And the development of high-end medical service cannot live without the government’s guidance and policy, social capital investment as well as the development of doctor, facilities and service,” said Gao.
The Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center received 1,454 on the spot enquiries from May 11 to May 21, and handled 3,445 telephone enquiries.