China to deepen medical, healthcare reform in 2024
Updated: July 9, 2024 07:24 CGTN

China has released a list of healthcare reform tasks for 2024, including measures related to public healthcare services, the development of public hospitals and reform in relation to medicine.

At a national conference on China's health development and deepening healthcare reform that ended in late June, policymakers and practitioners discussed topics including public hospital reforms, medicine supply and medical insurance.

The country will continue enhancing its public healthcare service capacity at the primary level, deepen reform of the payment system at public hospitals, and improve its healthcare insurance systems to better meet people's needs and reduce their medical costs, according to the document.

This year's reform will also give more weight to matters such as medical technological progress, multi-tiered diagnosis and treatment, and digitalized services, said Zhu Hongbiao, an official with the National Health Commission (NHC), at the conference.

Tackling high medical expenses has been an important part of China's medical and healthcare reforms. To that end, China has launched nine rounds of bulk drug procurement programs since 2018 and gradually expanded the price reform of medical services.

It is expected that the bulk purchase program will cover 500 medications this year, and pilot price reforms of medical services will be carried out in three provincial-level regions.

Various reforms to optimize hospital services launched over the past decade have also achieved notable results.

Long wait times for registration, medical examinations and settling hospital bills were once common grievances among patients. However, recent reforms have resulted in a remarkable transformation. According to the NHC, over 5,500 comprehensive hospitals now provide "one-stop" services, enabling 77.7 percent of hospitalized patients to settle their bills on the day of discharge.

Furthermore, mutual recognition of medical examination results has been achieved in most public hospitals, reducing the need for repetitive tests at different facilities.

Empowered by the internet, over 3,000 medical institutions in China offer medical and nursing services online for those unable to visit in person, data from the NHC revealed.

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