The launch of two DLT-enabled platforms in the cities of Kunshan and Fuzhou focussing on prescriptions and medical billing respectively, has further enlarged the growing role of blockchain technology in Chinese healthcare. Both systems were launched last month.
Kunshan City’s Prescriptions App
One innovation is a medical prescription app that has been developed by Suzhou Mobile and the Kunshan City Health Committee for the people of the south-eastern Kunshan City.
Chinese healthcare has been ridden with problems such as inefficient tracking systems for medicines and a paper-heavy approach to recording patient information. As a result, there’s a risk of records being tampered with or incomplete. By authenticating prescription information and being able to trace it back to the doctor who issued it, the medicine dispensing process becomes more secure and pharmacists are more confident that the medicines they dispense are for legitimate use.
A report by Zhihu.com says the solution involves storing encrypted copies of patient medical records on the blockchain, enabling it to be shared. The dispenser has access to the outpatient data, the drug details, and the doctor that issued the prescription.
Apart from being used for dispensing, patients also have access to the information and are able to buy medicines directly through the app. Additionally, regulatory bodies can review the data for supervision purposes.
Fuzhou’s Medical Bills Platform
Meanwhile, at the Fuzhou Second Hospital in the south-eastern Fujian province, a pilot for a blockchain medical bills platform has been launched.
Responding to a notice issued by the national government, the platform aims to tackle the issue of fake medical bills, facilitate the process of paying bills, and reduce inefficient and excessive processes and paper usage.
The system records all invoice-related actions undertaken by healthcare providers and citizens on the blockchain to produce credible and transparent data that all parties can trust. Because the blockchain has multiple nodes, the data cannot be tampered with. For insurance companies, if a patient produces a medical bill they need to be sure it’s not fraudulent, and a blockchain system helps this.
From a patient perspective the primary advantage is convenience. There’s less queuing to get an invoice which can be accessed through a self service kiosk or via a mobile phone using WeChat.
Plans are in place to further expand the platform should the pilot go well. It could potentially integrate into other health information platforms such as the mobile app from the Fuzhou Health and Family Planning Commission or other apps .
These two developments are just two examples from the myriad of recent blockchain cases being integrated in Chinese healthcare. The Beijing Municipal Government Office recently announced its “Beijing Blockchain Innovation Development Action Plan (2020-2022)”. This project focuses on DLT’s potential to build a transparent and secure healthcare system, as well as ensuring regulatory compliance.
Furthermore, a similar system to that just implemented in Fuzhou has been in operation in the eastern province of Zhejiang for more than a year. Here, the platform is powered by Ant blockchain and Alipay. It already serves hundreds of medical institutions and has processed billions of dollars in the process.