Private medical clinics play a critical role in the national Healthy China 2030 initiative. China's population accounts for 22% of the world's population but accounts for only 2% of the world's medical and healthcare resources. The country needs a robust private system to relieve pressure on public healthcare infrastructure, and China's private clinics have considerable room for growth.
Ping An Smart Healthcare, part of Ping An Smart City, has introduced a new model of private clinic management in Shenzhen that shows a promising path.
As of November 2020, there are 1.031 million medical and healthcare institutions in China. Private medical clinics are the fastest growing category within primary medical and healthcare institutions in China. In the 12 months between November 2019 and November 2020, they increased by nearly 19,000 to 261,000, according to the National Health Commission.
Since 2016, the government has been calling for more private clinics to complement the public healthcare system. In May 2019, Shenzhen was one of eight cities selected to participate in the “Promote the Development of Clinics” pilot scheme. Ping An Smart City has played an important role in the establishment of the “Shenzhen City Integrated Clinic Services Monitoring Platform”.
The Shenzhen City Integrated Clinic Services Monitoring Platform addresses common issues faced by private medical institutions including borrowing qualifications to operate, unnecessary or excessive treatments, high service charges and poor management. Ping An Smart City’s integrated monitoring solution provides services such as the licence registration, doctor qualifications, monitoring of high-risk medical activities, checking doctors’ attendance, enabling electronic prescriptions, and weeding out of institutions with low scores and those that violated rules and regulations.
By October 2020, the Shenzhen City Integrated Clinic Services Monitoring Platform was launched across five districts in Shenzhen, covering more than 2,000 doctors and 1 million patient visits. Nearly 30,000 electronic prescriptions were monitored and over 6,000 smart alerts issued by health regulators. It has also initiated nearly 3,000 clinic reform measures.
Ping An Smart City built the platform in line with regulations to improve management efficiency and patient satisfaction with clinic services. The Shenzhen model not only brought about innovative regulatory measures to relevant departments, it has also accelerated the smart reform of private medical institutions. For instance, licensed doctors must scan their faces before they can issue electronic prescriptions as a safeguard against non-licensed doctors issuing prescriptions.
Ultimately, these reforms will help build the credibility of private medical institutions. China’s regulations on private medical institutions have become increasingly stringent, with regulations on market access, services, health insurance, advertising and other areas.
Ping An Smart City has adapted the Shenzhen model for the monitoring of COVID-19 in Guangdong provincial clinics and Zhuhai City public health emergency management platform. In Zhuhai, it has connected the city’s hospitals, disease control center, 120 emergency centers and nucleic acid testing centers to monitor the COVID-19 situation and ensure efficient deployment of emergency resources.