Need a doctor? New Beijing scheme may let you book hospital check-up on WeChat

Appointment system with the help of popular messaging app proposed to boost efficiency and stop ticket scalping

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 February, 2014, 4:27pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 February, 2014, 4:27pm

Beijing hospitals are testing a new system that allows to patients make appointments via WeChat, the Beijing Times reported.

Twenty-one hospitals will set up accounts on the mobile messaging app and let users make appointments and check hospital information and test results on their phones, according to the Beijing Municipal Health Department.

Nine hospitals, including Beijing Tongren Hospital, Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Beijing Cancer Hospital, have already set up accounts.

“We still need one final approval, but we’re launching it as soon as it is approved. The system will be much faster, and make it much easier for the patients,” an administrative woman from the Beijing Cancer Hospital said.

Beijing hospitals are notoriously crowded, with some patients lining up for appointments a day before.

According to the Beijing Times, some hospitals will create WeChat accounts which let subscribers get hospital information, while other hospitals will feature an appointment service through the messaging app.

Monica Sun, a retail assistant in Beijing says she cannot wait until the registration system is digitised.

“Hospital registration people can be so rude – I’ll be glad to skip that,” she said.

The Beijing Municipal Administration of Hospitals said it would not take a one-size-fits-all approach to the services and content, but would plan according to each hospital’s technological capabilities.

However, the hospitals are required to give free public lectures and post information on free services.

Earlier reports said Beijing Tongren Hospital was considering using WeChat to stop scalpers who peddle hospital-cue tickets – or registration numbers – to long lines of patients who might want to jump ahead in the queue.

The scalpers collect the tickets very early in the morning (either by lining up themselves or by bribing staff), then sell the registration numbers for up to several hundred yuan.