Chinese health care faces a shortage of doctors & wide disparities. Read how AskBob, the AI doctor built by Ping An, the leading managed care organization can help.
Ping An Group digital ecosystem and AI assisted health and elderly care development: Co-CEO Jessica Tan says the company is meeting the needs of society for long-term sustainable business growth and returns.
Bob is working in China, where there are 1.4 billion people but only 3.8 million doctors. Clearly, that’s not enough doctors, which is where Bob comes in.
Besides a lack of doctors, Chinese health care faces wide disparities. A recent survey cited in the British Medical Journal reports considerable disparities in China’s public health care provision, including demographic, socioeconomic, regional rural/urban differences and issues relating to resource management.
Bob, or more correctly “AskBob,” is contributing to trying to overcome some of these challenges.
AskBob is an artificial intelligence-driven consultation and treatment assistance tool, a clinical decision support system (CDSS). It helps doctors in China make diagnoses, enabling them to work faster, more efficiently and more accurately. AskBob is certainly qualified to help. For the past five years, the tool has been doing a lot of learning and reading – 38 million medical journals, in fact. Bob has learned about more than 30,000 diseases and developed 20,000 different pathways to support human doctors in patient diagnosis. Currently, Bob is helping about 1.4 million doctors, particularly in China’s third- and fourth-tier cities, where medical diagnosis aid and support can be scarce.
Speaking at a recent Asia Tech X Summit in Singapore, Ping An Group co-CEO Jessica Tan said, “I’m very sure, whichever country you’re in, you will argue we can get better, cheaper, faster health care service, and that you always don’t have enough doctors in any country. And I think technology can help with both.” AskBob has also been pilot tested in Singapore through a partnership with Singapore’s public health care group SingHealth and the National University Health System (NUHS).
So why is Ping An, one of the largest insurance companies in the world, with 200 million customers and half a million sales agents, building digital AI doctors?
In a recent study, the consultancy Oliver Wyman projected that China’s burgeoning insurance market will overtake that of the U.S. by 2030 and reach 45 trillion yuan ($6.71 billion) in premiums by 2050, compared with just 4 trillion today.
Insurance sector growth is expected to be driven by rising wealth accumulation in an increasingly affluent population. In today’s market, OW reported: “The greatest financial needs for Chinese households lie in health care expenditure (about RMB 1,050 trillion) and pension support (about RMB 370 trillion).”
While China’s demographic growth is forecast to come to an end, the rising affluence identified by OW means there is a large segment of the population, estimated at almost 400 million, huge by international comparison, who want and can afford to plan for their health care and elderly care needs.
Building an ecosystem
By integrating insurance, hospitals, health checks, rehabilitation, elderly care and medicine, insurance companies can establish a one-stop health ecosystem of “insurance + health services + health management.” In this ecosystem, policyholders insure themselves not only against disease, but also with the intention of securing their health. Insurance companies can thus not only effectively improve customer stickiness, but also promptly intervene in customer health while controlling incurred medical expenses.
In health care:
Ping An aim to be China’s leading HMO, or health maintenance organization, a form of managed care connecting insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and health service institutions to create a closed-loop business of “insurance + health services.” The insured are entitled to medical resources like treatments within the network.
Ping An already serves about 400 million users a year through an app that acts like a window on services available both off- and online. The group has introduced a managed-care model featuring “HMO + family doctor + O2O.” The Ping An Good Doctor health platform connects online doctors and offline medical institutions through its “family doctor membership” to provide daily health management and services before, during and after diagnosis.
In elderly care: Ping An is developing a new elderly care ecosystem providing home-based “butler” service and personal generalist care.
In more detail, the round-the-clock online elderly care concierge service is supported by a smart-risk system that connects health monitoring devices with the concierge platform. When the system detects anomalies, it issues an early warning so that the dedicated butler service can respond quickly and notify emergency services and family doctors, as necessary. The system can monitor seven major vital signs, and monitor 13 behavioral risks.
A network of integrated services
To ensure it can deliver on these key services, Ping An is expanding its business ecosystems of “finance + elderly care “ and “finance + health care.”. The group had created a competitive edge of integrated online and offline health services through over 40,000 in-house doctors and contracted external doctors; partnerships with more than 10,000 hospitals, including 99% of Tier 1 hospitals and all top 100 hospitals; and around 96,000 health care management institutions and 202,000 pharmacies (around a third of all pharmacies) at the end of 2021.
Watch this video to learn more.
This content was produced by the Wall Street Journal Custom Content, in Collaboration with Ping An Group. Click here to read the original post.