By 2020, health care spending in China is expected to exceed $1 trillion, according to a report from McKinsey, and analysts estimate it will become the second-largest market for pharmaceuticals in the world next year. Yes, China is big market for just about any product or service you could imagine, digital (and mobile) health included.
Founded in 2011, Chunyu Yisheng has a user base of more than 25 million users connecting with about 40,000 doctors.However, despite a significant increase in government health expenditure in recent years, the amount as a share of GDP has declined to about 5%, much lower than the world average of 10%. Doctors are overworked and underpaid, and corruption is rife. Another problem is violence against medical personnel which rose an average 23% ever year between 2002 and 2012.
Enter modern technology, and the mobile app called Chunyu Yisheng that seeks to disrupt the entire sector, driving innovation from the bottom up, rather than depending on government reforms.
The application, which recently raised $50 million in series C funding, connects users with physicians remotely to discuss and diagnose their ailments.
“We find some health problems are better solved online,” Chunyu CTO Zeng Boyi told the South China Morning Post. “Those problems, mainly mild problems, were not easily solved before. People either [self-diagnose] online, risking wrong and impersonalized information, or go to the hospital directly, which results in a very high time cost.”
Chunyu is solving a key problem in the health care market: the time it takes to see a doctor.Founded in 2011, the company has a user base of more than 25 million users connecting with about 40,000 doctors. Asking questions on forums is free, and so are the 90-second phone calls with physicians. Beyond that, longer private consultations or scheduling in-person appointments cost real money, with Chunyu splitting revenues with doctors.
According to Zeng, Chunyu is solving a key problem in the health care market: the time it takes to see a doctor. “The time cost of going to hospital is about half a day, so people only go to hospital when they are very sick,” he said. “We make the cost of seeing a doctor low enough, so people can see a doctor in Chunyu often.”
On the other hand, Chunyu is also helping physicians achieve their dream of opening their own clinic. “It is only a dream in reality for a lot of political, practical reasons. We help them open a clinic online.”
Zeng also noted another reason why investors liked Chunyu – its big data technology. “That data is of particular importance because it is generated by a real doctor, in the process of solving the problem itself instead of selling medication or hospital promotion.”