Alibaba pilot promises seamless online doctor to prescription service in China

Hangzhou-based online market giant Alibaba Group launched a pilot medical service last month in China that promises a patient can visit a doctor online and get his prescription filled the same way with home delivery and payment to boot, Caixin online reports.

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The effort, part of Alibaba's health business, aims to tap into a market that iResearch said had an estimated revenue stream of 16 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) last year, up from 10.9 billion yuan in 2014 and a leap from 200 million yuan in 2009. "We want to build a health care product sales platform that links manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to offer various medical products and services to customers," Ni Jianwen, vice president of Alibaba's health business told Caixin. The pilot saw patient Hu Tianshun enter medical data via an online form and then a video chat with a doctor in another city was held, Caixin said, adding the doctor made a diagnosis and places a online prescription order with an Alibaba's online shops. "Hu got his drugs the next day, and completed the transaction by paying the deliveryman," Caixin said. But Alibaba is not alone in the market with rival Tencent Holdings and We Doctor Group, or GuaHao, in the fray. China is shaking up its hospital and healthcare sector in a bid to cuts costs and boost services, with companies such as GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) moving to rejig sales away from a sales-rep driven model. Report