China's Public Health System Primed for Digital Innovation

26 June 2021 | Saturday | News

Ping An is investing further in its healthcare ecosystem to meet the growing public healthcare needs in China, says Jessica Tan, Co-CEO of Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. (hereafter "Ping An" or the "Group", HKEX: 2318; SSE: 601318).
Image Source : Public Domain

Image Source : Public Domain

China's Public Health System Primed for Digital Innovation Online/Offline Service Delivery 'Huge Growth Opportunity', says Ping An Co-CEO


Ms. Tan addressed the Fortune Global Forum, a virtual event for the leaders of the Fortune Global 500, the world's largest companies.

"This is a huge growth opportunity for the next five to 10 years," Ms. Tan said. "We see the opportunity accelerating, and it's time for a second phase of online consultation." Online medical consultations in China grew from 3% to 5% before the COVID-19 pandemic to 20% at its peak last year, Ms. Tan said. That could grow to 34% as consumers are becoming used to online consultations and more cities are now accepting social health insurance online as regulations changed during the pandemic.

"What will fuel the next stage of growth is how you can integrate the online and offline health aspects," she added.

Ping An has built a healthcare ecosystem that helps to address the challenges raised by China's rapidly aging population, rising public healthcare costs and a shortage of medical professionals. As of December 31, 2020, the ecosystem served 21,000 health management authorities in 158 cities, processed more than one billion online consultations, and partnered with more than 3,700 hospitals and 151,000 pharmacies.

Digital technology makes it possible for people even outside China's Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities to get access to quality healthcare, Ms. Tan said. Ping An Good DoctorChina's leading online healthcare platform, has an in-house medical team of about 2,200 as well as a network of 22,000 top specialists across the country. The smart healthcare team of Ping An Smart City is providing technology tools that now support about 750,000 doctors across the country, such as AskBob, an artificial-intelligence clinical decision support system, and medical imaging and analysis. For doctors in lower-tier cities who have less experience and training than those in the country's leading hospitals, these tools can help to significantly improve the accuracy of diagnoses and treatment recommendations.

The healthcare ecosystem creates synergies with Ping An's main businesses. In 2020, nearly 61% of Ping An's more than 218 million financial customers used services from the healthcare ecosystem. In the past four years, about 15% to 20% of Ping An's new financial customers each year were sourced from the healthcare ecosystem. Ping An's insurance customers and their families are assigned dedicated family doctor online. They also have access to services such as annual health check-ups, chronic disease management, such as monitoring diabetes, access to 22,000 specialists and treatment for critical illnesses.

Ping An's comprehensive healthcare ecosystem encompasses twelve entities, which work hand-in-hand to serve the healthcare industry on all fronts, including healthcare management authorities, patients, service providers, and payers. These include: the smart healthcare team of Ping An Smart City, which serves the government and offline health care service providers; Ping An Good Doctor, which focuses on patients and online health care service providers; and Ping An HealthKonnect, which serves payers. Ping An ranked first globally by the number of digital healthcare patent applications at the end of 2020. In addition to establishing its own businesses and partnering with others, Ping An has invested in nearly 100 companies in the healthcare industry through Ping An Overseas Holdings and other platforms.

Ms. Tan was number six on Fortune's list of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders in 2021, and number two on Fortune's Most Powerful Women International list in 2020.

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