Healthcare IT in China

Posted on September 8, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve had an ongoing fascination with China. I think it first started in high school when some Chinese policies were the topic for the debate team I was on. I traveled all over the US (literally coast to coast) debating the impact of various chinese policies like the controversial one child policy. Add in the amazing size of China (the billion+ people still astounds me) and let’s just say I’m absolutely intrigued by China.

Needless to say, this fascination with China has grown into an interest in healthcare IT in China. In fact, I’ve been considering attending a healthcare IT conference in Asia to learn even more. Plus, I think the US healthcare system can learn a lot by looking outside our borders at other countries.

I recently found an article by Ben Zhou, a Dell Senior Executive over China, where he shared some really interesting information about the changing healthcare landscape in China and healthcare IT in China.

The whole article is worth a read, but for those short on time here’s the section on healthcare IT in China:

The Chinese government began investing in a Hospital Information System (HIS) several years ago. In 2008, data from the Ministry of Health shows that 80 percent of hospitals implemented HIS. In the next five years, they will invest more in a national Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system.

Chinese EMR systems have developed slowly over the past few years because of the absence of a single standard for all EMR system providers. As a result, hospitals are unable to share information or provide qualified health services to patients.

To support EMR systems, hospitals will invest more in data centers, IT outsourcing, and mobility. Cloud services would be an attractive solution for hospitals looking for flexible computing and managing EMR systems effectively. Mobility solutions would enable doctors to receive and update information anywhere and at any time.

Sounds like the face some similar challenges to us (ie. single standard for all EMR system providers). Although, an 80% HIS implementation by Chinese hospitals is pretty impressive. I wish we could say the same for the US hospitals.

I’ll be keeping an eye on China. If we thought it was hard to provide healthcare to a few hundred million people. Imagine doing the same for well over a billion people. Not to mention, many of which are in rural areas.