This chapter addresses the increasing role of digital healthcare in the overall Chinese healthcare system. As described in previous chapters, the healthcare system faces many issues, such as the confrontational relationship between doctors and patients, the poor access for populations in rural areas, the significant mark-up throughout distribution channels, a financially heavy burden for chronic diseases, poor quality of healthcare supply and inefficient hospital operation except Level 3 hospitals that have to deal with an over-demand. Many solutions have been proposed, such as the multiplication of healthcare suppliers, the establishment of general practitioners as gatekeepers for hospital admissions, the implementation of public health insurance schemes or the government support for reforms in favour of private health insurance and private healthcare providers. However, they have not proven sufficient to solve all problems yet. Digital healthcare is likely to play an increasing part in addressing these issues. One of the strengths of e-health is the quick and widespread adoption of mobile platforms. This may help solve access challenges, through online appointment registration systems, models of online-offline services, two-communication platforms between patients and physicians, sharing information through the Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems, the generalized implementation of a DRG-based payment system, making patients more increasingly active actors in maintaining the health status, and improving the online drug market. On the flip side, this also raises many concerns regarding the confidentiality of personal medical data and the monopoly situation of some internet companies.
KeywordsDigital healthcare Online appointment E-health Cloud computing and big data Three internet giants
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