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Experts say online healthcare industry still needs hospitals and doctors

Online healthcare companies need to obtain key medical resources like hospitals and doctors, where possible, to survive in the highly competitive industry, experts say.

"Hospitals and doctors are core assets of the industry, which cannot be replaced by any internet technology," Liu Zongyu, an analyst at internet startup service provider 36Kr said in a report. "Companies should make continued efforts to get access to these tangible medical resources."

Fifty out of 700 online medical enterprises that had secured finance, closed down by the end of last year, according to Liu's report.

Since 2011, more than 1,000 online medical enterprises have reportedly sprung up in the fields of medical consultation, medical information and biotechnology. However, most of these companies' business models are still at the stage of exploration with how to build trust between doctors and patients on the internet their primary concern.

Wang Wei, president of the Guizhou-based Longmaster Information and Technology, said at a recent press conference that the nature of online healthcare is to offer medical services.

"In this highly competitive industry, the internet is just a tool to improve efficiency through saving the time of doctors and patients," Wang said.

Huo Yong, director of the Department of Cardiology and Heart Center at Peking University First Hospital, said it is common for patients to need further examination and treatment in physical hospitals after video consultations.

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