One Minute Clinics to be Introduced in Pharmacies in Gansu Province
A pharmacy model that is promoted by MinuteClinic in the U.S. is brought to Northwest China by local health authorities and AliHealth as part of a planned healthcare reform in improving patient access to care. The initiative in Jinchang in Gansu province that has a population of 400,000 are using telemedicine platforms from Alihealth which is a subsidiary of Alibaba.
Around 100 physicians that are under the public-private partnership which is led by local health administration are seeing patients using the telemedicine platform that are installed in 20 drugstores. Called the one minute clinic, the program allows doctors to give prescription medicine online that the patient then can purchase at the stores. The model clinic is expected to expand to 300 drugstores throughout Gansu province and hopes it will help enhance public access to health services and optimizes overall medical resources.
According to AliHealth CEO Wang Lei, that this clinics will concentrate on chronic disease management, disease prevention, rehabilitation and health education as their priorities. As of the moment Chinese people tend to flock into hospitals to see specialists even for a minor condition, which results to crowding in hospitals.plus repeated visits by patients with chronic diseases is straining the system. Because of the difficulty of seeing a doctor in a large hospital, a majority of people purchase medication to treat themselves, but only a handful of drugstores have pharmacists. The program will help patients access more convenient and professional care thus easing the strain in crowded hospitals and lowers overall medical costs.
But Wang said that even with the overwhelming e-commerce tide, yao.tmall.com, Alibaba’s largest e-commerce drug platform and brick and mortar stores will still remain and the functions of a Chinese drugstore will be expanded to integrate health consultation and management.