China’s Healthcare Reform: Fastest Growing Sector in the World

The most populated country in the world is fully engaging the issues of healthcare reform. The cornerstone of the newly emerging system is patient data. The organization, storage and management of health records will ultimately maximize the benefits of patient care and cost efficiency.
The WSJ underscores the importance:  “China’s health-care IT market will see remarkable growth in the next five years, triggered partly by China’s three year” health-care reform program, said Janet Chiew, analyst for research firm IDC. IDC estimates the market will reach $2.4 billion in 2013 and grow at an average 19.9% per year.”

Data storage and analysis capabilities will be further driven as the influx of new medical devices and diagnostic equipment continues to surge ahead. According to one report, China’s overall medical equipment market is expected to double between now and 2015 to reach over $53 billion.  This steady increase of new medical equipment will generate massive amounts of new patient data and a concurrent need for real-time access. It is not inconceivable that patient data could more than double in a decade.

Before the information from new diagnostic equipment can be transformed in to cost saving health-care analytics, the existing systems of paper based patient records must become electronic records. This is the first step for eliminating expensive redundancies and delays in gathering patient data. Database technology and storage solutions from IBM and others are already being deployed throughout China and have been for some time.

In Guangdong province, a group of high volume hospitals are implementing a program called CHAS, or Clinical and Health Records Analytics and Sharing. One such hospital focused on traditional Chinese medicine has more than 10,000 patient visits per day. Deployment of the new health-care analytics technology in this hospital is expected by the year-end.

China’s health-care reform offers data storage and analysis technology its largest opportunity yet for developing and deploying solutions…solutions that will have global impact on reducing costs and improving patient care.