Chinese healthcare innovator WeDoctor has created a healthcare platform focusing on the 70m people in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) of Hong Kong, Macao and Guangdong to integrate healthcare, pharmaceutical and health insurance services. It could help alleviate the overloaded public healthcare system in Hong Kong and encourage medical travel across China.
Nine city service bases have been set up in the region. From the Zhuhai base, the platform will match the relevant medical practitioners with patients from the 11 GBA cities to offer diagnosis and treatment, remote joint medical consultation and family health management online.
Jeffery Chen of WeDoctor says; “Patients can make online appointments, get pre-clinic visit online consultation and follow-up online consultations. These will be done via a mobile application.”
The platform could help alleviate the overloaded public healthcare system in Hong Kong and benefit Hong Kong patients. In Hong Kong, it can take up to a year for patients to get a CT scan through the public hospital system, but this can be done much faster and for less in a Shenzhen hospital.
However, to make the platform work in both Hong Kong and China, there needs to be sharing of patients’ medical records between hospitals and cross-border medical insurance coverage. This could be a challenge as the healthcare systems in both places are different. In China, hospital services are funded by a state-run health insurance scheme, which does not cover Hong Kong. Public hospitals in Hong Kong charge residents lower prices than visitors, while private healthcare is reimbursed by private insurance.
Currently, cross-border medical coverage is rarely available on the market. It remains to be seen if patients can get service in China and get their Hong Kong policies to pay costs. Patients would have to pay any travel and extra accommodation costs.