BEIJING, July 22 (Xinhua) -- China needs a new model of healthcare based on strengthened primary care, greater integration with social services, and better use of electronic tools and data sharing, a report authored by Chinese and international organizations recommended on Friday.
Switching to "people-centered, integrated care" would keep routine patient care outside of hospitals and help China cut down on health costs by as much as 3 percent of its GDP by 2035, according to the report by the World Bank, World Health Organization, and China's Ministry of Finance, National Health and Family Planning Commission, and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
Business as usual, on the other hand, would see health spending increase by 8.4 percent a year from 2015 to 2020, said the report, "Deepening Health Reform in China, Building High-Quality and Value-Based Service Delivery."
At an event launching the report, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said, "Decades ago, China's innovations in health such as barefoot doctors and cooperative healthcare showed the world it was possible to improve the health and greatly increase the life expectancy of hundreds of millions of people.
"Today, China can once again lead the way with cutting-edge primary healthcare reform that puts the patient first and shifts away from expensive hospital care that often does little to improve the health of people. If China institutes these reforms, we believe it will improve the healthcare system for all Chinese -- or one in every six people in the world."
The report stressed that reform should be built on China's successes in healthcare over the last two decades.
With massive investment in health infrastructure, the country achieved near-universal health insurance coverage at an unprecedented speed, with more than 95 percent of its population covered by 2011, the report noted.
A child born in China today can expect to live more than 30 years longer than he or she would have 50 years ago, it said.
The report's recommendations include having public hospitals focus on complicated cases while delegating routine care to primary-care providers, and overhauling incentives for healthcare providers so they are rewarded based on the outcomes of their care for patients, instead of the number of medical procedures used or drugs sold.
Without these adjustments, China's health spending would increase in real terms from 3.5 trillion yuan (529 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014 to 15.8 trillion yuan in 2035 -- an average increase of 8.4 percent per year, the report estimated.
Health spending would account for over 9 percent of GDP in 2035, up from 5.6 percent in 2014, it added.
Two years in the making, the report is based on 20 background studies, more than 30 case studies, visits to 21 Chinese provinces, and a series of workshops with policy makers, medical practitioners, researchers and academics.