Health News

Chinese hospital adopts blockchain for medical bills


Yesterday, Chinese media outlet Sina reported that the Guangzhou Huadu District People’s Hospital had launched a blockchain-based invoice service. Now, the hospital issues electronic bills for both outpatients and inpatients, accessible by smartphone. With blockchain, it can ensure data integrity and tackle fraud.

The system was first used in late September for outpatients, then expanded to “the whole hospital business” by October 16th. Huadu District hospital is reportedly the first in China to adopt electronic billing powered by blockchain.

According to Sohu, an outpatient said: “I don’t have to worry about losing the invoice in the future, and I don’t use it to go back and forth for so long. Now I can use my mobile phone to scan a QR code to open an electronic invoice, and the reimbursement is more convenient.”

Patients can use Tencent’s popular WeChat app to access medical bills, saving the hospital costs on paper and improving its sustainability. Blockchain further allows for efficient billing and immutable, auditable storage of medical information. Invoices are now far harder to imitate, so it protects against claims based on fraudulent invoices. The technology was developed by Kingdee Medical and local firm Guangdong Ruilan.

This project works towards the nation’s July plan for reforming the healthcare system using electronic invoices. The program was jointly issued by the Ministry of Finance, Health, and the Medical Insurance Bureau. Sohu reports that other public hospitals in Huadu district are beginning to adopt the blockchain system.

In August, China’s leading search engine Baidu launched a medical blockchain for data sharing and prescriptions. It also hoped to expand to insurance claims and bills, but it is unconfirmed whether Baidu’s initiative is related to this one. Fellow domestic firm Alipay also has a medical blockchain for insurance claims.

The city of Guangzhou is home to other blockchain projects. Last month, its local government piloted a company registry platform, and the Guangzhou Internet Courts host a Baidu blockchain node. The larger Guangdong province is one of three that the central bank’s Bay Area Trade Finance Blockchain Platform (BATFB) initially launched.