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An Oasis of Health
The last decade ushered in significant improvements to China’s healthcare system – a system that had been in crisis during the 90s, after the transition from a planned to a mixed economy. In 2005, the government launched a major investment plan to reinstate a network of basic medical care for Chinese citizens.
In addition to better access and affordability, hospitals today are also more sanitary and better equipped as a result. That public spending programme aims squarely at improving coverage and affordability for the rural poor. To modernise the healthcare system for high-level care, the government has embarked on a series of new policies and reforms that are opening the healthcare industry to the outside world. Competition is yielding the efficiency and innovation that the old model lacked.
These are recent developments. For now the private sector caters mostly to an exclusive minority. Specialty clinics are commonplace, but there is unmet demand for general hospitals. Although 40 per cent of hospitals are private, they currently provide only about ten per cent of patient beds.
Despite improvements, China’s healthcare system is still rife with complications. The environment in public hospitals is poor and doctors are too busy to speak with their patients. Lack of communication is a serious problem. It is not only emotionally distressing for patients, but it also hinders proper diagnosis and treatment. In the Chinese system, no one coordinates a plan of care. You see a different doctor every time you visit the hospital. And seeing doctors is difficult, not just for the average Chinese citizen but also for foreigners and wealthy Chinese.
Everyone endures the same long waits and poor service. Another serious problem, afflicting both public and private hospitals, is the widespread practice of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. One example is the misuse of antibiotics; today the average Chinese person consumes ten times the amount of antibiotics as the average American.
The solution is to take advantage of government reforms and do what the existing system cannot do well: focus on the needs of patients first. OASIS Healthcare has created a hospital that is efficient, transparent, and patient-focused from the start. This involves bringing together the right hardware and software for the job: a new high-tech medical facility and a well-managed international healthcare team. The result is OASIS International Hospital, a full-service hospital in Beijing, which opened its doors to the public in early 2012. Healthcare at OASIS is modelled after leading evidence-based practices, setting rigorous standards for physician qualifications, infection-controlled environments, medical technology and delivery of care. Doctors are committed to fair and compassionate treatment. Each patient has a general physician, or family doctor, to provide primary care and coordinate specialty care across departments.
There is still a large gap between the demand for high quality care and the availability of such care. In the years to come, the private sector will play an increasingly important role in China’s healthcare system. In Beijing, OASIS International Hospital is doing its part to give its patients a healthy future.