China to be world’s second-biggest m-health market by 2015: PwC

China will need to adopt transformative technologies and medical practices if it is to meet healthcare reform goals for 2015, according to PwC.

China will need to adopt transformative technologies and medical practices if it is to meet healthcare reform goals for 2015, according to PwC.

In an article written for the China-Britain Business FOCUS – published by the China-Britain Business Council, which helps UK companies to do business in China – Catherine Tsui and Christopher Wasden, two analysts with PwC, say the use of innovative but practical mobile health solutions could fill a number of healthcare gaps in China, where consumers have shown a willingness to pay for services from both public and private medical service providers.

Those solutions could also allow providers to overcome difficulties in generating new offerings given existing budget constraints.

According to PwC, thanks to the take-up of new technologies, the healthcare value chain in China is already becoming more “patient-centric”.

The market-research company reckons that by 2017 China will be the second-largest mobile health market, after the US, generating an estimated $2.5 billion in revenues.

It also reckons the Chinese government’s establishment of electronic health records will further facilitate the development of the market.

Authorities aim to cover 75% of the population with the electronic health records initiative by 2015.

Meanwhile, the sale and integration of new healthcare technologies – as well as the process and associated IT platforms require to support telehealth solutions – will give rise a range of commercial opportunities, including for investments and joint ventures with companies specializing in this area.

Tsui and Wasden say that pilots of m-health services are under way or have already been completed in a number of Chinese provinces, and that these are delivering benefits to consumers as well as attractive returns to investors.

The “12580” hospital booking and reminder system in Guangdong, Nei Menggu, Tianjin and Zhejiang, for instance, has helped to reduce the cost of healthcare delivery while improving patients’ access to doctors and medical facilities.

In Shanghai, meanwhile, the Shanghai Jiaotong University has set up a remote service center to serve patients equipped with mobile-enabled medical devices provided by hospitals to monitor and diagnose their conditions.