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Hong Kong health care and hospitals

Hong Kong Hospital Authority to make it easier for Hong Kong patients to pay their bills

Contactless payment and mobile phone apps part of authority’s move to modernise system in public hospitals

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2018, 8:01am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2018, 8:01am

Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority is looking at making it easier for the public to pay their bills electronically.

A senior official revealed on Monday that the authority is in discussion with third-party payment operators to allow more convenient ways to pay in public hospitals.

Dr Chung Kin-lai, the director of quality and safety at the authority’s head office, also revealed contactless payment with credit cards, and mobile phones, would be introduced to the existing self-service payment kiosks at specialist outpatient clinics, starting from September this year.

The new arrangement will give patients who use self-service kiosks, which only accept Octopus cards, more options to pay their medical fees.

Looking forward, Chung said the authority is looking into third-party payment to let patients pay on their mobile phones.

“If we introduce this kind of payment, patients would not be restricted by locations when paying,” said Chung. “This is a rather important direction for us.”

He added that the authority hoped to “place those kiosks in patients’ mobiles” one day.

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He said that in 2016-2017, there were about 19 million cases of transactions on public hospital and clinic fees, involving HK$3.8 billion. If each transaction required one minute to handle, it would take staff more than 300,000 hours to handle those transactions.

Patients might also have to spend time to walk to another hospital block just to pay, after seeing a doctor.

Chung said the authority had started discussions with unnamed third-party payment operators to explore ways for patients to pay. One possible option involves QR codes on third-party mobile payment platforms.

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There is no timetable for when these payment methods may be available, but Chung said “the sooner the better”.

He said: “We would definitely do that, or else it would be difficult to cope with changes in society.”

While the authority has already launched mobile apps for different functions, such as booking appointments at specialist outpatient clinics, Chung said they are looking to incorporate all functions, including payment, in one mobile app to bring greater convenience to patients.