NDRC’s policy to reform medical service pricing calls for pilots to apply diagnosis-related groups (DRGs) to at least 100 diagnostic categories by the end of 2016. DRGs categorise patients based on diagnostic categories to standardise reimbursement and treatment for medical services, and assign fixed fees for each category.

Technical requirements and cost standardisation still make DRG implementation too difficult, argues Ge Menghua 葛孟华 Shaoxing Second Hospital. Disease severity, different clinical diagnoses, and patient age will all impede standardisation.

It will take a long time to study key factors that affect treatment cost and clarify the required categories, adds Jin Chunlin 金春林 Shanghai Health Development Research Centre.