How wearable devices boost the domestic online healthcare industry in China
China faces stark disparity in terms of medical resources and, as a result, the online healthcare market and telemedicine industry in the country are set to benefit from opportunities in ensuring that technology covers the gap. Additionally, the accelerated pace of growth in wearables and medical informatisation is set to boost the aforementioned sectors.
The China online healthcare market was valued at CNY 10.88 billion (£1.12bn) in 2014, with transaction revenue providing 90% of the total as advertisement revenue has fallen over the past half-decade, according to a report from RnRMarketResearch.com. Though smart devices and services are not yet functioning at their fullest in the market, they accounted for 3.1% of the total transaction revenue in the country in 2014.
Another sector in China witnessing growth is the telemedicine industry. At the end of 2014, 50% of the provincial level hospitals and 42% of the primary hospitals were operating telemedicine centres in the country. However, policies are set to put an obstacle in the growth trajectory of the online healthcare market. The NHFPC restricted the development of telemedicine to medical institutions from August 2014 onwards.
In healthcare, wearable devices aid in keeping track of blood pressure levels, heartbeat, body temperature and other parameters. These devices fall under the Personal Internet of Things (PIoT) as they collect information on the individual wearing the device, according to a report from ResearchandMarkets, with Jawbone, Nike and Adidas among the companies providing products in this space.
The opportunity and demand in China has attracted foreign players. US radiology company vRad inked a strategic cooperation agreement with E-TECHCO in April 2014, which will see both parties offer tele radiology services for patients in the greater China region. World Care has also established cooperation with many regional governments, including Nanjing.
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