When the Internet medical industry was hot, there were more than 5,000 competitors in the industry. Before this epidemic, there were only 50 companies that survived and were relatively large in scale, with a survival rate of less than 1%.
A sudden new crown pneumonia epidemic has caused many people to try online consultations.
During the Spring Festival, the old father’s pharyngitis suddenly worsened, and he coughed for several days. After taking the medicine with little effect, Ning Xiao, who lives in Guangzhou, finally decided to help the old father try online consultation. After trying two apps, the old father’s problem was gradually solved.
Like Ning Xiao, there are not a few people who came into contact with online consultation for the first time during the epidemic. In order to reduce cross-infection of patients and facilitate patients to seek medical treatment, the exposure of Internet medical care has increased sharply. The number of users of Internet medical platforms has ushered in an explosive growth, and many public hospitals have also opened online consultation services, making Internet medical care, which was cold in the past few years, very lively.
On March 2, the National Medical Insurance Administration and the National Health and Health Commission issued the “Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Development of “Internet +” Medical Insurance Services During the Prevention and Control of the New Coronary Pneumonia Epidemic” (hereinafter referred to as the “Guiding Opinions”) “Internet +” medical service fees are included in the scope of medical insurance payment, and online medical insurance settlement is realized for “Internet +” medical services and online prescription drug fees that meet the regulations.
Now, the epidemic is gradually being brought under control, and offline hospitals are returning to normal order. How will the Internet medical platform continue to break through after the patients are accelerated and the payment side welcomes good news?
The survival rate of the Internet medical industry is less than 1%
During the epidemic, the number of consultation orders on many Internet medical platforms has surged. For example, the total number of consultations on the online consultation platform of Dr. Lilac has exceeded 1 million; another example is the Penguin Almond Group, the online consultation volume on the company’s platform has experienced an explosive growth, reaching the highest peak in 2019, and the number of users of the platform has increased. close to 120%.
In order to meet the needs of patients, Internet medical platforms have made moves. On January 23, Dr. Lilac’s online consultation platform launched a variety of services such as online free consultation, follow-up refills, and drug docking for Hubei patients after an emergency inventory. In addition, the free clinic service is also connected to national-level platforms such as Healthy China and Learning Power, so that more people can learn about the activities of online free clinics and get help from doctors in a timely manner. At the same time, the company is also expanding the recruitment of doctors.
Wang Shirui, CEO of Penguin Almond Group, also told the first financial reporter that in order to facilitate patients to seek medical treatment, the company has optimized the auxiliary diagnosis and treatment system, and has written structured problems and some clinical paths according to the characteristics of the new coronary pneumonia into the human-machine combined auxiliary diagnosis and treatment system. , to help patients efficiently complete the early self-examination, comprehensively improve the service ability of the company’s family doctor, and provide more professional diagnosis and treatment and guidance for more families.
On the other hand, Internet medical platforms have also poured into more competitors, and many offline public hospitals have also opened online consultation services. It can be said that this fight against the epidemic has given the Internet medical platform the opportunity to turn around again, and the Internet medical platform has also received maximum exposure opportunities.
“This fight against the epidemic has made people fully aware of the necessity of online consultation. The Internet medical platform has completed better user education at a lower cost, and the scope of user education also includes patients, doctors, and the government.” Investment People Wang Pengyu told the first financial reporter.
my country’s Internet medical services originated from online appointment and registration, and then expanded to online light consultation, online pharmacy, and Internet hospitals within the scope of supervision. In 2014, Internet medical treatment started as a whole, and it mainly entered the medical industry with online registration, online consultation, and medical science popularization as the entry point. From 2015 to 2016, driven by the optimistic expectations of industry participants and investors, the Internet medical sector showed explosive growth. At that time, although many platforms accumulated more traffic, they failed to find a mature monetization model, which also led to difficulties in making sustainable profits. In 2017 and 2018, restricted by the profit model and uncertain policy prospects, the industry entered a freezing period.
Wang Pengyu said that when the Internet medical industry was hot, there were more than 5,000 competitors in the industry. Before the epidemic, there were only 50 companies that survived and were relatively large in scale, with a survival rate of less than 1%. The reason is that most business models are unsustainable and cannot form a closed loop, that is, they cannot solve the problem of why patients need online services. In addition, medical insurance payment has also become a major problem plaguing the industry.
After this epidemic, it is possible to solve the medical insurance payment problem of the Internet medical platform. Before the outbreak, that is, before 2019, only Yinchuan Internet Hospital in China could pilot medical insurance payment.
On March 2 this year, the National Medical Insurance Administration and the National Health and Health Commission issued guidelines to include eligible “Internet +” medical service fees into the scope of medical insurance payment. And so on to achieve online medical insurance settlement. Then, on March 5, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council issued the “Opinions on Deepening the Reform of the Medical Security System” (hereinafter referred to as the “Opinions”), focusing on solving the problem of unbalanced and insufficient development of the medical security system and supporting “Internet + medical care”. Wait for the development of new service models. This also means that the inclusion of Internet medical care in medical insurance is expected to become normalized.
Tianfeng Securities analyst Shen Haibing analyzed in the research report, looking back on 2013-2016, the great development of Internet medical care was only driven by the service side, driven by the policy side and the rise of third-party platforms, but the patient education was slow, and the payer did not Entering the market, the development of the entire industry is not beautiful, and then the policy was tightened for a time. This time the great development of the industry is a real change. The reason is: this time, the demand side, the service side and the payer are working together to promote .
How to keep breaking out
After the epidemic, can the Internet medical platform continue to retain the pace of patients?
“Because the medical service itself has a strong offline attribute, after the epidemic, patients may return to offline medical institutions. Therefore, whether the follow-up Internet medical platform can continue to retain patients will face the test.” Wang Pengyu said.
During the epidemic, Yicai reporters have experienced a variety of online consultation platforms and found that the consultation process of some platforms still needs to be optimized, such as the cumbersome submission of materials before the diagnosis, the long response time of doctors, and the limited number of consultations. In addition, some platforms are suitable for returning patients and are not suitable for first-time patients.
During the epidemic, many offline hospitals took advantage of the situation to expand online. Will the follow-up hospitals strengthen the management of doctors’ behavior, so that doctors stationed on overseas platforms will gradually return to their own Internet hospitals? Some people have also raised such questions, because it is related to the difficulty of recruiting doctors for third-party Internet medical platforms.
And how will the Internet medical platform in the “post-epidemic era” break through?
“In our opinion, Internet medical care should provide a continuous and overall service, and consultation is only one of the links. If there is no production of front-end popular science content and the improvement of public health literacy, even if all Chinese doctors are placed on the Internet platform. Answering the questions of patients or the general public is simply too much to bear, so our strategic positioning is to stick to the health side, not the medical side, even if offline hospitals explore online diagnosis and treatment, it is not a competitive relationship with us. Financial reporters said that after the epidemic, the public will pay more attention to healthy life, and the demand for healthy consumption will also be stimulated. Therefore, the company emphasizes the need to “focus on out-of-hospital scenes and advocate for a healthy lifestyle”.
“Currently, public hospitals around the world are exploring online Internet hospitals to improve patients’ medical experience through the integration of medical resources. However, Internet medical care is not a form of ‘hospital + website’. Behind the online consultation, it is necessary to consider the underlying logic to build a complete and Systematized management mode, Internet-based operation methods, customer service teams, online maintenance, information security management and other links to improve the efficiency of medical services.” Wang Shirui said, with family doctors as the link, promoting high-quality service resources to sink to primary medical care, has been This is what Penguin Almond Group is doing. This epidemic has also strengthened the company’s development direction. “Our real main battlefield is in primary healthcare. We hope to become an icebreaker who truly combines primary healthcare and the Internet. With a solid foundation, Chinese healthcare can truly fulfill everyone’s expectations.”
In addition, although the Internet medical platform has gradually gained the blessing of the medical insurance policy, the crux of the payment side still needs to be further resolved.
The relevant person in charge of Lilac Garden told the first financial reporter that on the medical side, limited by the bundling of medical insurance quotas with offline medical institutions, how to obtain medical insurance quotas for third-party Internet medical platforms remains to be resolved. At the same time, on the drug side, third-party Internet medical platforms also have conflicts that need to share medical insurance quotas with offline designated pharmacies. “And medical insurance is managed locally. The medical insurance of each province, city, and autonomous region has the characteristics of regionalization, and the fund pool and reimbursement rules are not consistent. It will take time for third-party Internet medical platforms to access, and policy support is needed. .
Wang Shirui also said that the current medical insurance policies, service prices and reimbursement catalogs are different in various regions of the country, and the differences in patients’ settlement and reimbursement in different places are still very large. Only when medical standards and medical supervision are fully consistent can we truly provide convenience and fairness to the people’s medical services.