Chinese Government Encourages Development of Online Medical Services

Pushing to offer more timely healthcare to its 1.4 billion people, the Chinese government is encouraging its top tier hospitals to offer online services that would allow patients to make appointments, receive test results, and consult with doctors over the Internet.

The government plan, announced in April 2018, calls for funding high-speed broadband networks to cover medical institutions at all levels in urban and rural areas. The goal is to use the power of online communications to promote family doctor practices, improve drug supply and medical bill settlement, carry out medical education, and provide artificial intelligence services.

It is part of a broader push for Internet-based healthcare to ease the burden on Chinese hospitals, where just 1.5 doctors are available for every 1,000 people. With the best doctors and hospitals concentrated in its biggest cities, access to good quality healthcare is lacking in many rural areas.