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The Future of Healthcare Could Be in China

November 7, 2019, 12:18 PM UTC

The healthcare tech revolution is coming—and China is going to be on the forefront.

The country provides a fertile test market for how the rest of the world can digitally predict and manage healthcare, said Ninie Wang, founder and CEO at Pinetree Care Group, China’s largest provider of home health services.

Speaking at Fortune’s Global Tech Conference in Guangzhou, China on Thursday, Wang said China offers a massive market, an aging population, and an ability to quickly adopt consumer technologies. But we should be wary of technological solutions that propose completely overhauling the way healthcare is delivered, said Wang.

The key to bringing healthcare into a technologically integrated world will require nuanced collaboration between engineers, providers, and patients, she said.

“People in tech start saying we are going to replace you, replace doctors, replace nurses, replace hospitals, and they are in love with their products or technology rather than actually talking on a day-to-day basis with people who are already in healthcare and understand where the needs are,” said Wang. “Can we think of not disrupting their existing way of living or working in healthcare, but try to find subtle ways to disrupt the inefficiencies and cost-effectiveness (of care)?”

But others speaking on the panel said that the healthcare revolution is still coming too slowly—and much of that is because of the physical limitations of the current systems.

“We haven’t quite had the revolution (in healthcare) and I think that’s because at the moment you still need a doctor or a nurse, it’s very labor intensive,” said Frank Hester, Founder and CEO at TPP, a leading healthcare technology and software firm. “But I think the revolution will come,” he said, while still amplifying the voices of doctors and nurses.

When it does happen, that transformation may not be just limited to China, but may offer the opportunity to set up a trans-national health care system that fits patients’ different needs, said Hester.

“The hospital is a bit of an old construct, and I think as we’re going forward, you know, I might want my diabetes managed by a doctor in Beijing with traditional Chinese medicine, but my depression by somebody in Los Angeles,” Hester said. “I (also) think we are going to see [A.I. in healthcare] in the next two years.”

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