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China Digital Health Report 2021 Reveals How Technology Can Help Healthcare Systems

The China Digital Health Report 2021 analysed China’s technology adoption policies for healthcare systems, industry case studies to produce business insights for investors and healthcare professionals.

Healthcare systems around the world continue to face immense pressure in the wake of the COVID-9 pandemic, compounded by an aging world population. The South China Morning Post announced in March 2021 the launch of its inaugural China Digital Health Report 2021, the most comprehensive and up-to-date report on the topic, that examines how China and other leading nations are adopting technology solutions to address the growing pressure on national healthcare systems and imbalances in health resources.

The report covers government policy initiatives in China and presents key challenges and opportunities in each of the four sectors of digital health with data collected from over 200 Chinese digital health companies. Sectors include internet healthcare, AI in healthcare, healthcare IT, and big data in healthcare. The report analyses initiatives behind China’s rapid growth in its digital health industry and provides key trends, challenges, and opportunities for the sector’s future. With COVID-19 driving digitization across all industries, China’s digital health sectors are booming and expected to grow 42 percent year-on-year over the next five years. Resource imbalances, high out-of-pocket costs for patients, and the pandemic are among the most consequential drivers responsible for this growth. The growth story of China’s digital health market can provide insights for other nations that are digitizing their healthcare systems.

Developed by SCMP Research, the report also features four in-depth case studies on how the industry has addressed key challenges and opportunities and compares China’s progress in digital health with five leading countries, including China, Australia, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom and United States. Governments around the world have been rolling out digital health policies to modernize its healthcare systems and alleviate the increasing pressure. SCMP found the global healthcare workforce shortage is expected to grow from 6 million in 2015 to 15.5 million workers by 2030, and Covid 19 has only reinforced the trend.

The report also reveals how China overcame a slow start to catch up with its global peers in terms of digital health policies and adoption level. China has the second largest healthcare expenditure in the world, behind only the United States who leads in the number of funding deals and is home to the most leading digital health start-ups.

SCMP’s Business Editor Eugene Tang said, “China, the world’s second-largest healthcare market, encounters similar challenges as countries across the globe. Digital health introduces new possibilities and solutions, especially during Covid-19. China’s digital health market is a blueprint for how governments can support digital health efforts and offer solutions that can create value for patients and the healthcare system. The market is certainly one for global investors and corporate executives to watch.”

Other key findings of the report revealed that internet healthcare is the largest of the four sectors of digital health and is expected to see the highest growth. One of the most common use cases of 54 million internet healthcare users is remote consultation, however many players are driving revenue through sales of drugs and wellness products. Artificial intelligence in healthcare also showed to significantly reduce time and cost of drug development, a process that typically costs over USD 1 billion over the span of 10 years.

The government has set explicit goals for hospitals to upgrade their healthcare IT systems, specifically to improve the maturity levels of their electronic medical record systems. In big data in healthcare, the Chinese government, through state-owned enterprises and state investment companies, has developed major initiatives to develop nationwide infrastructures. [APBN]