Much-Hyped Healthcare Reform Drive in China Stuck in First Stage


Published Date : Aug 11, 2015

It was not much time ago that China trumpeted drafting the most ambitious healthcare reform drive for the country. Li Tiantian, the Chinese doctor turned tech entrepreneur, left no stones unturned to chalk out a way for judiciously implementing the healthcare reforms across the country. DXY.com, a medical networking platform spearheaded by Li Tiantian, that links almost two million doctors from across China was also able to attract funding from tech giants like Tencent. 

Beijing earlier announced DXY’s intentions to support remote healthcare. It is a part of the 5 years roadmap that commenced since March, to use Internet and technology as drivers to resolve the widespread healthcare woes of the country. DXY is already chalking plans to associate with public hospitals to help connect patients and doctors online. However, due to lack of support from Beijing and hurdles in working with the huge and fragmented healthcare public sector in China, DXY nurtures little hope for the easy success of the drive. 

When asked about the progress made in the field Li said to Reuters, although there has been several news boasting stories about policy changing, however in reality nothing much has happened yet. He made it clear while technology, capital investments, and the overall market in China are well developed, regulations, laws, and systems to support the development strategy are not full-proof. The government in China needs to draft drastic regulations to curb discrepancies and resolve the ongoing problems in the country’s healthcare sector. 

Li’s position indicates immense obstacles to reform the healthcare sector in China. It reflects that introducing advances in the incumbent technology, or promoting online drug sales, hospital privatization, or other drivers to lure firms and investors for betting billions on China opening up a market anticipated to be worth US$1.3 trillion by 2020. 

Despite government touting their long-term ambitions, insiders say technical issue such as fragmented IT infrastructure is holding the plans to achieve success in the healthcare sector of China.