Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dispatch from China

On Monday and Tuesday I met with government, industry, and academic stakeholders  in Qingdao and Shenzhen China to discuss healthcare technology,  patient empowerment, and process improvement in the rapidly expanding Chinese healthcare system.    Here's a photo of my visit to a hospital pharmacy in Shenzhen, dispensing ginseng and ling chi mushrooms.

Over the past few years, I’ve watched the Chinese government gradually change policy - from promoting a fully public healthcare system, to limited pilots of private facilities, to embracing public/private partnerships.

Foreign entities can now directly invest and operate joint venture hospitals in China, while Hong Kong and Macau based investors can own and operate hospitals in selected cities.

China faces the same challenges as the US and other industrialized nations - an aging society, increased demand for care, a limited supply of qualified professionals, shrinking budgets, and the need to improve quality.

I outlined a 5 fold approach for China

*Innovation in healthcare technology - universal adoption of EHRs, health information exchange, big data analytics, cloud delivery of services, wearables/mobile for patient/family engagement
*Education/Culture of Quality - ensuring every clinician has access to best practices and feedback on the quality of their practice
*Reputation building - creation of a regional center of excellence well known for  outcomes, great teaching, and cutting edge research
*Recruitment of mentors, mid career professionals and early achievers - to foster a supportive community of practice
*Public Health/Health Services research - to provide every clinician with the tools needed to support continuous wellness , population health, and care management.

As the American century draws to a close and China becomes the world’s strongest economy, collaboration between the US and China in the science of healthcare delivery will have mutual benefits.  

As I told the mayor of Shenzhen (below), my wife is Korean, and based on my love of the Far East, I am an Asian at heart.

I look forward to ongoing collaboration which improves the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare in China.

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