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Chinese government pledges a comprehensive health platform

Zhang Yue
Updated: Jun 8,2016 9:03 PM

The Chinese government will build a health and medical data platform across the country to better meet growing demands in health and medical services.

The decision was made at this week’s State Council executive meeting on June 8, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

“Enhancing the development of medical big data is a pressing task now. It is also an important project for public welfare, in the context of a growing need for health and medical services,” Premier Li said. “This goes hand-in-hand with the development of the country’s new economy.”

He said that big data platform is developing quite rapidly in the medical industry in some parts of China, referring to his recent trip to South China’s Guizhou province.

Beijing plans to include medical and health data application in the country’s national big data strategy. The countrywide personal health information platform will be better connected with provincial and lower-level platforms. Also, more efforts will be made to build health information platforms at different levels as well as in medical data collection, which will require efforts from multiple departments. Public medial information needs to be used to improve the government’s management of major public health issues.

Internet Plus will have a bigger role to play in making medical consultation more convenient. More efforts will be made for national portability of medical insurance schemes and direct expense settlement at the provincial level. The government will work with social capital to make better use of premium medical resources via Internet Plus.

It was stressed that new guidelines will be followed under the premise of personal information protection and Internet security. The country will need a more comprehensive regulation and legislation in personal information and data protection.

Premier Li urged all related departments to work with the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) to further improve data protection.

The portability of medical information and medical insurance is an effort that Premier Li promised better emphasis on in this year’s government work report.

“The platform will drive the growth of the sector, better meeting the health needs of our people,” he said.

While meeting with the press in March after the NPC session, Premier Li said the government is determined to speed up the national portability of medical insurance schemes this year, and plans to put in practice direct settlement of hospitalization expenses by retired elderly people in places away from their hometowns within two years, in order to ease the concerns of citizens.

The meeting also decided that the government will provide basic medical services for all people living under the poverty line in rural China by 2020, part of China’s national goal of poverty alleviation by 2020. According to statistics from NHFPC, by the end of 2015, about 42 percent of China’s poor population owed their plight to illness.

The Chinese government will work to improve medical services for the poor population in rural China, enhancing the medical system and providing accurate medical treatment. By 2020, people living under the national poverty line will be able to receive treatment before paying. Enhanced efforts will also be made in controlling chronic, contagious and regional diseases. These combined efforts will make critical diseases that lead to poverty a thing of the past.