China's Healthcare System
– overview and Quality Improvements
In recent years, China's GDP growth rate has on average exceeded 9 percent annually. As a result, the country's standard of living has improved, fueling residents' demand for more sophisticated healthcare services. This, in combination with strong needs for better and more inclusive healthcare, has led China to embark on a major healthcare reform program, with the goals of establishing a universal health security system.
The new system is not just a healthcare system and recognizes the impact of the environment, lifestyle and socio-economic circumstances on health. Ultimately, the government plan to provide basic healthcare for all its citizens by 2020. This report examines a range of topics, including insurance systems currently in place in China, hospital reforms, how healthcare is financed, maintaining quality of care and how these various indices should be measured.
The major components of China's healthcare reform plan include; the expansion of basic medical insurance programs and creation of a rural co-operative medical system that already today enroll more than 90 percent of urban and rural residents; establishing a national essential drug system that encompasses drug selection, production and supply, clinical applications, and medical insurance reimbursement; establishing a competent, primary medical care service infrastructure composed of rural township centers, village clinics and urban community healthcare centers, including a dual-direction referral system between community healthcare institutions and hospitals and, finally; equal access to basic public health services by both urban and rural residents.
Pervading all of this are the roles of both public and private institutions and how this balance is to be maintained as China continues to build its healthcare system. The government is encouraging private capital to invest in the construction of new hospitals and other care facilities and there is a robust combination of public and commercial insurance schemes for people to choose from.
Emphasis has also been put on improving care at all levels of the system by addressing various problems such as abuse of antibiotics and intravenous drugs, drug quality and safety as well as hospital accreditation.
The government and healthcare organizations have set up quality registries and mechanisms to evaluate a range of issues, from quality and safety to efficiency and performance, laying the groundwork for a more solid healthcare infrastructure in the future.