Zhejiang province has rolled out the nation’s first blockchain electronic bill platform which allows users to keep their records and bills in one place, with Alipay partnering for the scheme.
Initiated by the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Finance, jointly with the Provincial Bureau of Big Data, the Provincial Health and Health Commission, and the Provincial Medical Insurance Bureau, the province has utilized the Alipay payment service and affiliate company, Ant Financial’s blockchain technology for its public.
According to Jinse, Zhejiang citizens can complete the whole process of making appointments, paying fees, collecting tickets, taking medicines, without having to queue up for payment and printing. Users can view their medical bills in the Zhejiang Province Office or the Zhejiang Libao Alipay small program.
Jinse interviewed a Zhejiang citizen who had just used the service, he was reported as saying:
“I didn’t expect the blockchain to be used for medical treatment. In the future, I will not have to sort out various hospital bills, nor use the second queue to pay the bills. I can pick up the mobile phone directly!” (Translation)
The current platform is available at 11 hospitals including Zhejiang Yi, Zhejiang University and Shao Yifu Hospital. Following this initial trial period, it is expected to be rolled out in over 100 hospitals in the province by the end of the year.
A great success in Taizhou
The move comes following the success of the initial foray in the pilot city of Taizhou. Last year Taizhou City Hospital opened the country’s first medical electronic bill. Since then, Taizhou Medical Electronic Bills issued a total of 14.29 million copies, from the end of May last year.
The changes to an electronic and blockchain based organization have worked wonders. In the main comprehensive hospitals in Taizhou, the per-patient visit time has been reduced from 170 minutes to 75 minutes, a drop of nearly 60%. The average number of visits was reduced from 6 to 2, and the queue was reduced 4 times (registration, payment, check appointment, report), illustrating the successes of the reform by the Ministry of Finance in Zhejiang.
Alibaba’s Ant Financial leading the Blockchain effort
Ant Financial, the affiliate company of Alibaba/Alipay, are behind the blockchain. Their blockchain has been used for various other projects, like insurance claims and even to aid in a rice-tracking application.
It is said that this medical usage of blockchain will be the start for even more services utilizing the technology in Zhejiang. The Zhejiang Provincial Department of Finance hopes to roll out the technology in the areas of medical insurance reimbursement and even expand to public payment as well as education and public welfare.