El crecimiento sale a borbotones a continuación para IVD de China, mercados del GOLPE

por Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | February 25, 2010
Health technology
expands in the PRC
The United States isn't the only country whose government is trying to spur the adoption of health care information technology while wrangling with ambitious national health care schemes.

Halfway around the world, China is embarking on a massive, multi-trillion yuan project to ensure health care coverage of all its citizens while bringing its creaky health system into the 21st century. An internally launched study released by strategy consulting firm Scientia Advisors Feb. 16, shows how massive an undertaking it truly is, and how much HIT and diagnostics stand to benefit from the coming cash bonanza.

State of the Republic

Currently, China only spends 5 percent of its GDP, or $170 billion, on health care, about half of what G-7 countries spend. But China's catching up. According to the report, by 2015 the country will spend closer to 10 percent of its GDP on health care, only 0.2 percent shy of the G-7 average.

All told, China's health care market will triple to $600 billion in five years, engorged by massive government expenditures. By the latest reckoning, China is set to plunge 850 billion yuan (around $124 billion) into its economy under its current stimulus program.

According to Scientia, this government funding will spark a health care construction boom, as it calls for the building of almost 29,000 clinics and 2,000 county-level hospitals. It also shoots to provide basic medical insurance for 90% of the citizens by next year, and everyone by 2020.

As Harry Glorikian, the managing partner at the Cambridge, Mass. strategy consulting firm, tells DOTmed News, the aim of the bill is to encourage people to save less for health care (as is traditional in China) and spend more, thereby lubricating the economy with cash.

"How do you get out of this export economy?" he asks. "You drive internal consumption. It's the same process the U.S. went through when it was going up."

HIT Parade

While the main goal of the program is to encourage seniors to spend, China also hopes to modernize its health system by getting more hospitals online.

According to Scientia, this will be a boon for HIT. Thanks to government investments to get Chinese health care centers digital, this field should explode from $1.13 billion (as it was in 2008) to almost $4.1 billion in 2013.

Of course, this opportunity, while real, will be taken mainly by Chinese businesses. Currently, half the Chinese HIT market is dominated by 10 vendors, nine of which are Chinese (one is Siemens).

But Glorikian cautions that foreign firms aren't shut out of Chinese IT; they just have to be careful.