China unveils new healthcare scheme
China recently announced an ambitious program to provide basic healthcare for every citizen in the world's most populous nation. Chen Zhu, the Health Minister, speaking at the national Health Forum said the Healthy China 2020 program would provide universal national health service and promote equal access to public services.
With the ambitious title of Healthy China 2020, the program has multiple goals, including improving life expectancy, which this year has reached 73 years. It will be a massive challenge for the government, but the Health Ministry has been asked to fill what the Health Minister called 'a significant gap between the Party requirements and people's new expectations'.
There is another reason for China to work on the health system. As Beijing gears up for the summer Olympic Games, China wants to strengthen disease-monito ring and evaluate any public health hazards.
In a related news it is reported that rising medical costs have become the top concerns of Chinese people, according to a new survey by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS.) The survey of 101,029 families nationwide revealed 15.3 percent of those polled chose 'medical and health services' as one of their concerns. Growing public criticism of soaring medical fees, lack of access, poor doctor-patient relations and the low coverage of the medicare system had compelled China to launch a new round of medical reform.
Medical tourism covers soon in the West
A recent report by Swiss Re forecasts that the globalisation of healthcare is expected to have a significant impact on the strategy of health insurance companies, and medical tourism covers will eventually become available in the West- a move that would boost the inflow of foreign patients seeking treatment in India.
In its report on Global Trends in Private Medical Insurance, Swiss Re has observed that in view of the significant savings potential, some experts believe that health insurance plans covering medical tourism will eventually become available and revolutionise healthcare delivery. The report said that a recent study shows that if one-tenth of US patients travel abroad for treatment, savings of US$1.4 billion could be realised after taking into account the cost of travel.
Many hospitals in low-cost countries like India are already getting international accreditation such as Joint Committee on Accreditation of Healthcare Organisations and often employ medical and nursing staff with American or European professional certification.
India, considered one of the leading medical tourism providers, attracted five-lakh foreign medical tourists in 2006. Revenues totalled US$350 million and the annual growth rate for such services was 30%, the report said. Although Thailand got less than a third of medical tourists coming to India, its revenues have been far higher at US$1 billion. At present, the obstacle to insurers providing cover for treatment in India is a lack of network with service providers.
Dell, Collexis launch BioMedExperts, an online social network
Dell and Collexis Holdings Inc., have launched BioMedExperts-an innovative social networking community that will promote collaborative medical research and development.
BioMedExperts will allow health care and life sciences professionals to easily connect and collaborate with each other, as well as conduct research by providing 1.4 million biomedical experts with 12 million pre-established network connections from more than 120 countri