Alibaba Tries to Make a Visit to the Doctor Easier – Businessweek

China’s overburdened healthcare system is ripe for reform, and leading technology companies see opportunities in becoming part of the solution.

A Chinese nurse adjusts the infusion rate for a patient at a hospital in Xiangyang city, central China's Hubei province on Jan. 20, 2014.

Take the current system of booking time to see a physician, which is both inefficient and abusive. In order to see a doctor at a leading hospital in Beijing or another major Chinese city, a patient must queue up starting at around 5am and wait in line for several hours just to book an appointment for later that day. Sometimes the patient has the option of buying a hospital slot, typically at an exorbitant fee, from a professional scalper.

In July, Alipay, the popular e-payment system launched by Alibaba Group, began a pilot project to allow patients to book appointments at select hospitals through a smartphone app. A handful of hospitals in Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Kunming, Wenzhou, and Nanchang now participate. It sounds like a simple and intuitive step that should have been tried long ago; notably it’s a technology company, not a medical institution, that’s leading the change.

via Alibaba Tries to Make a Visit to the Doctor Easier – Businessweek.

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