From last October, all the tier-3 hospitals in China, the highest ranked and best equipped public hospitals, were required by the Ministry of Health to provide clinic appointment services. The national initiative of building the clinic appointment system aims to reach these objectives: 1) arrange doctors' agenda better, 2) reduce patients' wait time, and 3) provide better medical consultation. In shorter words, in face of pressing healthcare issues, the government kicks off a service initiative to improve the healthcare efficiency as well as work quality.
Making doctor appointments is common in most developed countries, but it hasn't been put into public use in China before. You can go to the hospital anytime and get a queue number at the outpatient counter. The counter staff then dispatches you to a medical division and you wait outside the diagnosis room till your number is called. Waiting is not a nice thing in any scenario, not to mention when you are feeling sick. Seeing a doctor is like going on a blind date. You don't know who you'll meet and what you would expect in the hospital. All you know is that you feel not well and probably nervous in the medical environment.
In the beginning of the Year Ox, the State Council announced an investment plan of 850 billion yuan (~$124 billion) for a national healthcare system reform in China, which will be aimed at "solving pressing problems that have caused strong complaints from the public".
On the April 6th, three months after the initial announcement, a high-level reform roadmap was unveiled to outline the objectives and focus areas, along with a more detailed implementation plan for the next three years. According to Ministry of Finance of China, in the next three years, the big pie of RMB 850 billion will be sliced into two major chunks: 2/3 goes to the end-users by improving the healthcare insurance coverage and the other 1/3 goes to invest in the healthcare providers to improve their capabilities and service level.