Technology can drive healthcare innovation, cut costs: experts

Updated 2017-09-20 09:30:59 Global Times

More Internet giants are entering the healthcare sector, with media reports saying that Tencent Doctorwork Clinic, a health management platform, is making its way to Beijing.

Yicai Global reported on Monday that the clinic will soon offer medical, surgical, dental, rehabilitation, psychological, dermatology and other services.

Doctorwork is an Internet Medical platform jointly funded by Tencent, Medlinker and Sequoia Capital China.

"Technologies can be applied for innovative service models to improve efficiency in the sector and unleash hospital resources," Chen Liteng, an analyst at the Hangzhou-based China e-Business Research Center, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"Internet giants can provide their platforms and empower third parties such as hospitals to improve doctors' efficiency and reduce operating costs," said Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based independent Internet analyst.

However, the business model that combines the Internet and healthcare is still in its infancy. Related regulations and management teams are not in place to match the sector's actual development. The situation might become a bottleneck to the industry's expansion and the improvement of its services, Chen continued.

Also, patients' privacy may be at risk as their information and medical records become more transparent and widely shared among doctors and hospitals, Chen pointed out.

Ali Health, Alibaba's healthcare subsidiary, is leveraging blockchain to build trust in the point-to-point network and protect patients' privacy. The approach has improved efficiency and reduced costs, Zhang Wenjuan, director of intelligent medical with Ali Health, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Chen also said patients might have chances to benefit from the experience of different doctors when information is shared.

Healthcare is still the core, Chen noted. The Internet is a tool that can help improve the experience, but it will not disrupt the traditional position of healthcare.

Chen counted on the government to provide system guarantee for the Internet Plus model with defined regulations, to enhance the information-sharing platform.

Liu also said that when doctors are rated by patients, the physicians will have to improve their service levels. He also said that any such rating system should be comprehensive so that comments are fair and justified for each doctor.

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