Transforming Health Through Technology
The healthcare system in China is undergoing major reforms to improve access and affordability for its 1.3 billion citizens. The country faces a rising and increasingly unmet healthcare demand due to an aging population, an expanding middle class, growing urbanization, an emerging prevalence of lifestyle diseases, and progress towards universal healthcare insurance coverage.
The Chinese government is embracing the role of technology in its efforts to develop the healthcare market and relieve pressure on overburdened infrastructure, particularly in Hangzhou, the scenic capital city of Zhejiang province near Shanghai. Since 1991, when a large portion of the city was designated a national development zone for hi-tech industrial development, Hangzhou has positioned itself as the “Silicon Valley” of China. Of particular significance is the city’s focus on developing cutting-edge healthcare technologies.
Leading companies have certainly taken notice of Hangzhou’s potential for technological advancement, not only for the tremendous business implications, but also for the opportunity to contribute to deepening social impact on a broad scale. One such company keen to leverage its strengths for good is IBM, which stands at the intersection of social innovation and technology. The company offers an array of solutions and consulting services for healthcare organizations from optimizing healthcare systems and providing data-driven insight for decision making to using artificial intelligence to accelerate discovery and drive meaningful outcomes.
To support China’s ambitious healthcare goals, in October and November 2017, IBM sent a team of 15 passionate and talented employees representing nine IBM country offices to Hangzhou to participate in the company’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC) initiative. The CSC is a Global Pro Bono program designed to develop employee leadership skills while addressing social challenges in underserved markets. In this particular month-long engagement, the employee cohort subdivided into five teams of three pro bono consultants, each assigned to address the particular needs of a local host organization confronting critical health challenges.