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Chinese gov't pledges comprehensive health platform


The Chinese government will build a health and medical data platform across the country to better meet the growing demand for health and medical services.

The decision was made at this week's State Council executive meeting on Wednesday, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

"Enhancing the development of medical big data is a pressing task now. It is also an important project for public welfare, in the context of the growing need for health and medical services," Li said. "This goes hand in hand with the development of the country's new economy."

He mentioned that the big data platform is developing quite rapidly in the medical industry in some parts of China, referring to his recent trip to China's Guizhou Province.

Beijing plans to make medical and health data application part of the country's national big data strategy. The countrywide personal health information platform will be better connected with provincial and lower-level platforms.

Also, more efforts will be made to build a health information platform at different levels as well as to collect medical data, which will require efforts from multiple departments. Public medical information needs to be better applied to improve the government's management of major public health issues.

Internet Plus will play a bigger role in making medical consultation more convenient. Also, more efforts will be made toward national portability of medical insurance schemes and direct expense settlement at the provincial level. The government will work together with social capital to make better use of premium medical resources via Internet Plus.

It is stressed that new guidelines will be carried out under the premise of personal information protection and Internet security. The country will need a more comprehensive regulation and legislation in personal information and data protection.

Premier Li urged all related departments to work with the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) to further improve data protection.

Li promised that more emphasis would be placed on the portability of medical information and medical insurance in this year's government work report.

"The platform will drive the growth of the sector, better meeting the health needs of our people," he said.

When meeting the press in March after the National People's Congress (NPC) session, Li said the government is determined to speed up national portability of medical insurance schemes this year, and plans to achieve the direct settlement of hospitalization expenses by retired elderly people in places away from their hometowns within two years, so as to ease the concerns of citizens.

The Wednesday meeting also decided that the government will provide basic medical services for all people living under the poverty line in rural China by 2020, in addition to China's national goal of poverty alleviation by 2020.

According to statistics from the NHFPC, by the end of 2015, about 42 percent of China's poverty-stricken population owed their plight to diseases.

The Chinese government's upcoming efforts are aimed at guaranteeing and improving medical services for the poverty-stricken population in rural China, enhancing medical system building and providing accurate medical treatment for those poverty-stricken people.

By 2020, people living under the national poverty line will be able to receive treatment before payment. Enhanced efforts will also be made in controlling chronic, contagious and regional diseases. All of these efforts taken together will make poverty induced by critical diseases a thing of the past.

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