Innovative technologies may help solve China’s medical problems

Global Business

With China working to alleviate problems in its overburdened public health care system, the first and foremost problem is a shortage of doctors. The government, hospitals, investors, and even mobile app developers, are proposing possible solutions.

CCTV America’s Dai Qian reports.

Innovative technologies may help solve China's medical problems

With China working to alleviate problems in its overburdened public health care system, the first and foremost problem is a shortage of doctors. The government, hospitals, investors, and even mobile app developers, are proposing possible solutions. CCTV America's Dai Qian reports.

One of China’s greatest public demands is the better health care. Chinese patients routinely suffer from difficulties in finding the right doctor in the right hospital.

“Take Zhongshan Hospital as an example. Around 120-130,000 patients register every day. Many of my patients told me how difficult it is to see me, and some even wait the whole night,” said Zhongshan Hospital doctor Bai Chunxue. “So many want to see me. One morning I saw 82 patients. For most patients, I can only spend a couple minutes with them.”

China has 1.4 physicians per 1,000 people compared to 2.4 in the United States and 2.8 in the U.K., according to the World Health Organization. Moreover, unlike in many other countries where local community doctors take care of most patients and have a long-term relationship with them, in China, even for simple diseases like the flu, people prefer to turn to top-ranking general hospitals.

“Our community hospitals have three deficiencies. The use of high-end technologies in them is low, and even when those technologies are available, few staff can use them. Also, the patients themselves don’t trust the neighborhood hospitals,” Bai said. The result is that the good hospitals in the country are full of long lines, which means a checkup for even the simplest problem can take an entire day.

But some are now hoping that mobile apps can impact a patient’s entire treatment process. Big companies, like Tencent and Alibaba, have made large investments in mobile health apps. These apps allow patients to book appointments, pay hospital bills, and relay information to their doctors.

But this can only become reality when there are enough doctors to staff the systems that are being designed.