Baidu has recently established an online assistance information platform for hospital patients, in order to allow patients and their relatives to access information on charities which could offer them support. The platform has begun by publicizing 158 assistance projects, offering patients funds, medicine, services and other support.
The platform will work in the following way: if a patient inputs the name of a disease in the Baidu search engine, for example “leukemia”, a card reading “Baidu Tips” will show up on the right part of the results page. Clicking on the characters for “charity support” on the card, the patient can then enter the official website of a charity assistance platform and gain information related to leukemia, including the name of the relevant charity organizations, the assistance standards, inquiries, and even an official link through which to apply for assistance.
According to the latest research, there are over 10 million patients with rare diseases in China, only about 1% of whom can be cured. China has witnessed an increasing incidence and death rate from cancer in 2015. However, many serious disease sufferers find it hard to get treated and get access to medicine because of the uneven distribution of medical resources, the imperfect social security policies, and the wide gap between the rich and the poor. The resources of medical charities, which could be a crucial supplement to the national medical security system, haven’t been given full play because of the patients’ lack of knowledge and the imperfect communication channels. The main problem is the information gap between charity organizations and patients, which urgently needs to be resolved.
Establishing an assistance information platform is a typical practice for Baidu to connect people with information they need. It is hoped that this new initiative can solve the problem of information asymmetry between the people needing help and the organizations offering it.