More providers interested in Chinese market

Healthcare players in the United States may be eyeing another market to conquer: China. The world's second-largest economy, although in some troubled financial waters at the moment, is expected to continue to grow rapidly. As a result, it is creating opportunities for providers here to bring their much sought-after clinical expertise to other parts of the world.

Dialysis center and medical group giant DaVita is in talks to create a chain of renal specialty hospitals in the Shandong Province of China, making it the first venture of its kind between a U.S. and Chinese operator, according to the Denver Business Journal. There may be as many as 120 million Chinese with renal health issues, according to DaVita, but fewer than 10 percent may be aware of them at the moment.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, Swedish Health Services and its affiliated specialty care divisions are seeking out joint ventures with providers both in China and Korea, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. Swedish recently inked an agreement with the nine-hospital CongraMarie Hospital Group in Shanghai to collaborate on research projects, the sharing of medical experts and other ventures.

China, home to nearly 1.5 billion people, is the world's most populous country. Its healthcare system has gone through radical shifts in recent decades, although evidence suggests it is moving toward a market-based system. However, is it also rife with para-professional clinicians, its urban hospitals are overcrowded, and staff are often subject to violence.

In addition to helping Swedish expand its presence beyond the U.S.,"this will also help Swedish and Providence Health & Services better ensure that we are remaining culturally responsive to the needs of our Chinese and Korean patients who live in or travel to the communities we serve," Swedish CEO Tony Armada said in a statement.

To learn more:
- read the Denver Business Journal article
- here's the DaVita statement
- check out the Puget Sound Business Journal article 
- here's the Swedish statement