Online health is shaping up to be a hot new industry in China, as an increasing number of hospitals begin providing cyber services.
According to Alibaba, as of October a total of 15 hospitals across China have joined the "Future Hospital" scheme initiated by the tech giant's third-party online payment platform Alipay four months ago.
"Future Hospital" is a mobile medical treatment strategy expected to help hospitals improve operating efficiency and optimize the deployment of medical resources. The scheme has allowed medical institutions to access Alipay's account system, mobile platform, payment and financial solutions, cloud computing and big data platforms.
More than 10,000 patients seek the virtual services every day, including registration and medical payment, largely shortening the typically time-consuming process in hospitals, said Wang Lijuan, general manager of Alibaba's small and micro business financial service group.
For instance, in the Guangzhou Women and Children's Medical Center in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, about 15 percent of patients choose to pay medical fees via Alipay. So far, more than 70,000 patients have used the services.
But Alibaba must figure out a way to remove one big stumbling block in the emerging industry at the moment, as the platform is yet to be connected with China's medical reimbursement system, which is a must if it wants its "services on the fingertip" to enjoy mass popularity in China.
Currently, Alibaba has reached agreements with nearly 50 top hospitals in major cities across China, and the scheme is expected to be available in those hospitals before the end of this year.