How western healthcare systems can slim down according to the Chinese role model
Improving healthcare and increasing life
expectancy without the costs skyrocketing:
China is currently pursuing this goal. The
Western healthcare sector should not
only take a look at how the Chinese are
approaching this task; it would do well to
actively participate in the development.
This experience can be used to modernize
its own, often dogmatic systems and
business models and, at the same time,
exploit market opportunities in China.
High life expectancy without spiraling
costs: Is that even possible?
Industrial countries in the West have
demonstrated how not to reach the healthcare
sector’s major goal: The life expectancy
in these countries has only increased in
very small steps since 2010 – by 0.2 years
in the United States and 0.6 years in Germany.
In contrast, the health care costs per
capita have exploded by around 20 percent
over the same period. (see exhibit)
with a lack of capabilities on China’s
part. In fact, on several occasions,
China has adapted and used
technological devel-opments at a
rapid pace, both to bring about
change in its own country and to
independently create added value
in combination with global marketing.
This effect can be observed across many
industries: In the area of electromobility,
for example, the Chinese manufacturer
BYD sold 30 percent more e-cars than
Tesla in 2016. With regard to mobile payment
systems, an area dominated by
Alipay and WeChat Pay, China has reached
a transaction volume of 5.5 trillion U.S.
dollars – almost 50 times as high as in the
And the healthcare sector also shows:
China is not just catching up, but rather introducing
promising new approaches that
could lead the way to the right formula for
Western players, too.
in medical technology
and treatment methods
in China question the
efficiency of Western
while offering opportunities
for leaner and
And there is no end in sight. Western healthcare
systems are still strongly insisting on
their established treatment and reimbursement
methods. At the same time, the aging
process of our society is progressing and the
extra cost for the treatment of chronic and
multimorbid patients is on the rise.
China’s healthcare sector, meanwhile, is
facing other challenges: It wants to increase
the overall life expectancy, which is currently
at 76 years, by a considerable amount
through better healthcare provision –
despite the fact that typical lifestyle
diseases like type 2 diabetes, hypertension
and arteriosclerosis are becoming increasingly
common and have only been treated
to a limited extent thus far.
Early treatment is a must have
However, Western industrial nations
should not equate these supposed deficits
COST FEVER IN WESTERN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS
Review 2010-15: Only small gains in life expectancy while enormous increase
in healthcare cost/capita. Not any longer a satisfactory model for the aging
populations in Europe and North America.
HEALTH EXPENDITURE PER CAPITA (€)
77 78 79 80 81 82 83
Ø LIFE EXPECTANCY (in years)