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Chinese hospitals advised to harness power of big data

By WANG XIAODONG | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-11-10 16:00

China should use big data to achieve a cost-effective and patient-centric healthcare system, according to analysis by the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group.

According to a study released on Wednesday, an efficient system that centers on patients is essential for the sustainability of healthcare in the country, given ballooning expenses caused by factors such as a rapidly aging population with increased incidence of chronic disease.

Total spending on healthcare in China will reach 6 trillion yuan ($904 billion) by 2020, three times the level in 2010, the report estimates. The efficiency of the sector is in general lower than developed countries such as the United States, it said.

The obstacles China faces include no unified information system to cover separate hospitals, and a lack of system integration between different types of medical institutions, the report said.

It said many hospitals fail to collect enough data on the effect of their treatment, making it difficult to gauge improvements in services.

"The government should encourage public hospitals, the major provider of medical services in China, to improve collection of data on patients, conduct evaluation of the effect of medical services, and facilitate data-sharing and transparency," it said.

"China can make fast progress in the area by employing the latest technologies such as digital platforms and big data."

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