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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Medical care to improve through health cards

By Shan Juan (China Daily)

09:51, March 02, 2012

Wu Fengxian, a resident of Zhengzhou, Henan province, holds up a replica of the citizen health card that she received from the Ministry of Health on Thursday. (Xinhua/Zhao Peng)

ZHENGZHOU - The Ministry of Health issued the nation's first citizen health cards on Thursday to improve the efficiency of medical services and facilitate fee transactions across regions.

The cards, being piloted in Henan, Liaoning, Guangdong provinces and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, will link hospitals, public health institutions and insurance operators across China when it is implemented nationwide, Minister of Health Chen Zhu said at a ceremony marking the launch of the pilot program.

"As part of the digitization task under medical reform, the card will help the people better manage their own health and improve the efficiency of the nation's medical care," he said.

According to Meng Qun, director of the ministry's statistics information center, the cards hold personal information, including health profiles, immunization, blood donation and medical records, and drug allergy alerts.

"We've designed special procedures to safeguard privacy during the card's use," he said. Only the cardholder and medical workers have access to the information.

"At hospitals, the detailed information on the cards will help doctors understand patients' backgrounds so they can make timely and proper diagnoses and treatment plans," he told China Daily.

And when there's an emergency, "that in particular will help save lives", he said.

Wang Taofu, a farmer who received a card, said: "I can go to any hospital in the province with this and the insurance payment will be made directly over the counter at the hospital."

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