The USA based providers have been consistent in forming International Telemedicine Programs. The programs have been spreading their influence worldwide. Recently, the stakeholders of these programs have set their eyes on China as the next country of interest. These stakeholders spearheading the telemedicine program include physician companies, academic medical centers, hospitals and health systems and related entrepreneurs. They all consider China to be a market with great potential and look forward to offering their medical skills and experiences to the residents.
The government of China has expressed its interest in allowing foreign countries to provide telemedicine services to its people. It released a publication on 29th August 2014 containing the guidelines for telemedicine services in China through the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the Peoples Republic of China (NHFPC). The document contained opinions about promoting telemedicine services offered by institutions. The views put more emphasis on the operations of institutions to institutions in the telemedicine arrangements. However, they shed some light on what China regulators expected from the international telemedicine arrangements. The information was helpful for U.S telemedicine stakeholders who were planning to explore the China market.
Earlier this year, on January 15, 2015, the China government through the NHFPC released another document detailing the elaborate plan to establish a synchronized telemedicine services nationwide. The publication is a 200-page blueprint that envisions how patients in China and medicine institutions will benefit from the flawless telemedicine services to be offered all over China. The document has been dubbed the Technical guideline for telemedicine information system Construction.
The report indicates that the existing telemedicine programs in China are established and operated haphazardly. They lack a clear system that integrates services from high-end medical institutions and those found in remote areas. It recommendations standardization of the telemedicine services across the country. It also proposes that patients all over the country will also have access to quality health care from the medical institutions and health practitioners.
That is because the professionals will be required to offer their services even to people in remote areas. It also assures the medicine practitioners that they will retain the right to intellectual property despite operating in a uniform telemedicine arrangement. Other issues discussed in the document include how the government is considering integrating these medical services into its insurance policies and how the government will establish a governing body that will oversee the standard of services offered. The document can serve as a yardstick to help U.S providers assess the suitability of their products and services for the target market.
In essence, based on this last document, China has joined other countries in embracing the concept of telemedicine programs and integrating it into its healthcare system.