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Chinese hospitals to onboard 20 percent more robots by 2020: IDC

Adrian M. Reodique | March 6, 2017
What else is in store for the healthcare IT sector in China?

Chinese hospitals will employ 20 percent more robots by 2020 to deliver medical equipment and food, according to IDC FutureScape: Top 10 Predictions of Healthcare IT 2017 - China Implications.

The report outlines an IT investment roadmap for medical institutions and predictions in the next 12 to 36 months, which detail the impact on medical institutions at both the departmental and hospital-wide levels.

"The medical IT industry is undergoing revolutionary changes. The establishment of a medical IT infrastructure and the application of emerging information technologies will help medical IT to quickly evolve from infrastructure IT to AI applications," said Leon Xiao , Senior Research Manager, Healthcare Industry Research & Consulting Services at IDC China, in a press release.

Online hospitals in the country are expected to develop fast. There were nearly 40 hospitals in China by the end of 2016, and it will likely grow to more than 100 this year, said IDC. In line, online medical business model will come into shape.

The following are IDC's other predictions for the healthcare IT field in China:


  1. By 2018, medical institutions will suffer up to 20 percent more online blackmail virus attacks. Meanwhile, more patients in China are expected to take part in life science and treatment processes.
  2. By 2019, almost a third of medical software in the healthcare industry (30 percent) will provide real-time scenario data from Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This will then be embedded into applications that have cognitive and summarising capacities to automatically generate documents needed for medical treatment. This will help save 20 percent of employees' work time.

    In addition, 20 percent of the local medical institutions are expected to use IoT-based biological sensor technology to automatically measure the key physical signs of a patient.
  3. By 2020, drug manufacturers will double their investments in data analysis by medical institutions to help them adapt to the new millennium and the electronic work mode.

    At the end of year, healthcare payers (e.g. insurance companies) will save approximately US$500 million by implementing robot-processed automation-related tools, skills, and engineering.
  4. By 2021, 20 percent of healthcare payers will provide their customers with personalised coverage schemes based on their health data to reduce fee rates and lower patient-paid costs.


There will also be 20 percent increase in the number of patients on cognitive healthcare systems. This is the result of medical services enabling real-time nursing plan adjustment which requires cognitive/artificial intelligence (AI) technology to use data from wearable devices.

"IT functions will move from the current stage where their main tasks are to support basic medical services, manage quality, improve diagnoses and boost treatment efficiency, to an IT-based AI application stage featuring innovative means of treatment, improved levels of diagnosis and treatment, expanded patient participation, wider scope of healthcare service and higher levels of support for human health," explained Xiao. 


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