China’s healthcare system is overburdened to say the least. Almost all hospitals are state-run, with the exception of an increasing number of private international hospitals entering the market.
Within the state-run system are three tiers of treatment. The first is for the general population that is only able to pay for basic treatment. The second is for “VIP’s”, or those able to pay extra for value-added services. The third is for military, all those in the armed services, in which the treatment is far and away the best and fastest.
For the general population, policy dictates that each doctor is given a time limit of 3 minutes with each patient, no matter what their condition is, before referring them on or prescribing medication. Every time a patient returns to the hospital, they will most probably see a different doctor. There are hundreds of patients in the general population waiting rooms who leave their cell phone numbers for a call back from administrators, which can sometimes take most of the day. There is no privacy, with open clinics hosting dozens of patients all being examined at the same time, even OB/GYN. This is in the middle of one of the largest and wealthiest cities in China. The level of care and expertise deteriorates significantly the farther you go into rural provinces.
I was very proud to be even a small part of helping to bring a premier healthcare system to life. Patient-centric Jiahui Healthcare opened in October to the brand positioning “Your Partner for Life”. Ten years in the making, and in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital, Jiahui stands as a tier three facility located in the middle of Shanghai, with clinics and wellness centers strategically spread throughout various neighborhoods.
As broken as our healthcare system is in the States, we should be grateful for what we have. For much of the world it’s so much worse.