Paper invoices that are disappearing: from 10,000 to 20, blockchain technology blesses electronic invoice reform

Text: Zhao Xuejiao

Source: Zinc Link

Editor's Note: The original title was "Paper Invoices That Are Disappearing"

Looking at the last car bill burned to ashes in the red flame, Zhao Yue was relieved.

An era will also drift with the fireworks.

He has been a bill clerk for 30 years in the Finance Department of Zhejiang Run Run Hospital. One ticket corresponds to one patient. In the past 30 years, the number of tickets has increased with patients. Previously, he could lift a few dozen bills by hand, but later he had to pack them in the largest carton.

In the past, he manually checked the half-meter-high bill stubs every day. On average, he packed a large box of 8 days and weighed 100 pounds. He couldn't put it in the office. Then he called the security guard to move to the warehouse together. Destruction, incineration, the whole process will take several months.

Today, there are fewer and fewer receipts received every day, from the original height of half a meter to one or twenty. The warehouse is no longer needed, and several of the vehicles carrying the bills are returned.

What made Zhao Yuesong relieved was Zhejiang's bill reform.

From the pilot reform of electronic bills in 2017, to the first batch of blockchain electronic bills in 11 Zhejiang-level public hospitals in 2019 … As of now, Zhejiang has 507 medical institutions on the chain, and paper bills have been replaced by electronic bills.

From 10,000 to 20

Farewell to paper invoices, but also start with the changes in Shaw Run Hospital.

Walking into the office of the Finance Department of Shaw Run Hospital, a stack of bill stubs was placed on a four-story light gray iron frame in order, with insufficient space and a row on the ground.

Zhao Yue, Bill Administrator, Shao Yifu Hospital, Zhejiang University

Every month, trucks at the printing plant are filled with hospital-specific bills and delivered here. Every day, these bills are taken by the hospital's various payment windows according to different numbers, and the opened stubs are returned to the finance department, reviewed and saved until they are written off.

Just the three seemingly simple steps of review, storage, and write-off will waste a lot of manpower, time and space.

Every day, Zhao Yue has to manually review more than 10,000 bill stubs one by one, which is more than half a meter tall and stacked in order of number segments. It takes an average of eight days to pack a large box and weighs nearly 100 kg. I can't put it in the office, I can only use a small car to lift the box, push it to the corner and pile it up. If two or three boxes are piled up, I will move it to the warehouse to store it.

Bill storage has always been the headache of Xu Jianhong, the head of the financial department of the hospital. According to regulations, hospital bills must be retained for two years before they can be written off. At most, 8.2 tons of bill stubs were stored in the hospital's warehouse at the same time, weighing 16 cows.

"The hospital's warehouse is very tense. We begged grandpa to tell grandma to ask for a warehouse. They can only be placed in the basement when there is no place to pile up.

Xu Jianhong told reporters that it did not work in the end, so he had to rent two warehouses outside the hospital to store idle paper bills, which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Writing off bill stubs is also troublesome. According to the process, the hospital finance department first reports the form of the bottom number to be destroyed to the Finance Department and applies for write-off. After the Finance Department has reviewed it, someone will be sent to check whether the bills are complete.

After passing the inspection, Zhao Yue, together with the staff of the Finance Department, pulled the bills to the Fuyang Printing Factory and burned them by truck. "The cardboard box was dragged to the incineration table. We saw it all in before we came back. It took several months to complete the whole process." Zhao Yue said.

The transfer took place in June 2019. The first blockchain electronic bill platform in China, the Zhejiang Blockchain Electronic Bill Platform, was officially launched, and Shao Yifu became the first batch of hospitals on the chain in Zhejiang.

Now, in addition to the small number of bills generated by the return of drugs, Shaw Run Hospital has said goodbye to paper bills.

Zhao Yue is finally freed from the heavy work. He no longer needs to spend a lot of time on sorting, packing, handling, and storing of bills. The verification and cancellation of the financial department can be completed online.

Now, he only needs to log in to the Zhejiang blockchain electronic bill platform, issue the bill number to each window, supervise in the background, and issue it after use. When the bills reached ten or so boxes, three or four security guards were moved to the warehouse twice.

Today, there are fewer and fewer receipts received every day, from the original height of half a meter to one or twenty. The printer can send two or three months of bills at a time. "The warehouse is no longer needed, and there are fewer cars to destroy bills."

By the end of 2019, there were 507 medical institutions on the chain in Zhejiang Province, and 74 public hospitals realized reimbursement for electronic bills in different places in the province, with 100 million fewer bills being issued, saving over 30 million yuan.

Bridge across the island

Mr. Pang became the first person in the country to reimburse medical insurance for blockchain electronic bills.

On July 31, 2019, Mr. Pang, a citizen of Taizhou who came to Hangzhou on a business trip, went to the First Hospital of Zhejiang University for medical treatment due to high temperature. Mr. Pang pays Taizhou-level medical insurance. Medical treatment in Hangzhou needs to be paid in advance. After returning to Taizhou, he will be reimbursed for medical insurance.

According to the previous reimbursement process, Mr. Pang had to take a physical bill and go to the local designated medical insurance window in Taizhou to complete the reimbursement.

However, under the guidance of the staff, Mr. Pang did not run more than once.

He registered through Alipay, went to the doctor, and the electronic receipt was sent directly to his Alipay. Then, he opened the Alipay "Zheli Office" applet, selected "medical security"-"sporadic reimbursement", uploaded electronic bills, and completed the entire process of reimbursement.

Only seven hours later, the reimbursement was credited to Mr. Pang's account.

With a little mobile phone, you can complete small reimbursement in different places. There is an important promoter behind it-Ye Shibao, director of Zhejiang Provincial Financial Bill Management Center.
The Zhejiang blockchain electronic bill platform was initiated by the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Finance and Alipay, and was jointly created by the Provincial Big Data Bureau, the Provincial Health and Health Commission, and the Provincial Medical Insurance Bureau. Beginning in 2017, Zhejiang has tried electronic bill reform and gradually experimented with replacing electronic bills with physical bills. One year later, he took the lead in piloting blockchain technology in Taizhou Central Hospital.

Ye Shibao, Director of Electronic Bills Center, Zhejiang Provincial Department of Finance

A department is an information island. The reform of electronic invoices with blockchain technology, just like the bridge across the island, reshapes the way of cooperation between government departments and accelerates the efficiency of collaboration.

The alliance chain can be connected to invoicing units such as hospitals, schools, traffic police, and courts, as well as ticketing units such as medical insurance, enterprises, and commercial insurance, as well as government regulatory agencies such as the Ministry of Finance and Health.

Imagine a patient going to three hospitals. Originally, he had to get all the invoices to the medical insurance department for reimbursement. If the three hospitals are on the chain, they can retrieve and confirm the payment records and bills of the patients, and then complete the multi-party settlement, which will eventually allow users to get reimbursement in one go.

The patient ID is unique, and his information can be passed directly to health insurance. Before, medical insurance departments had to ask hospitals one by one to verify the authenticity of bills, which took time and effort. After the notes are put on the chain, the immutable features of the blockchain technology are used, and the verification is very convenient.

The medical insurance accumulates his expenses for that year, deducts the starting point, calculates the payment proportion, and the reimbursable amount is directly credited to his medical insurance card.

For the financial sector, blockchain electronic invoices have a very important benefit-saving financial expenses. Ye Shibao, director of the Electronic Bills Center of the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Finance, said that according to previous statistics, there were 800 million bills in Zhejiang Province each year, and medical bills accounted for more than 600 million bills. In other words, the number of invoices issued by enterprises in Zhejiang Province in a day exceeds 2.19 million. The printing cost of an invoice paper is one and a half. It costs 328,000 yuan a day to print and about 120 million yuan a year. All these costs are paid by the financial department.

Another key benefit is that blockchain electronic invoices improve the regulatory capacity of the financial sector and make its management more refined. In the past, with such a huge amount of paper bills, the financial department's statistics and auditing work was very heavy, and it was necessary to turn the stubs one by one into piles of mountains. Now it's more efficient to verify the proper use of funds.

For the public, the medical treatment process is greatly simplified, and there is no need to queue up for registration and pay repeatedly. "According to the hospital's calculations, patients spent an average of 4.5-6 hours in hospital outpatient clinics, but now they have been reduced to 1.7 hours." Said Xu Jianhong, director of the Finance Department of Shao Yifu Hospital of Zhejiang University.

Not only that, the procedures for public health insurance reimbursement have been significantly streamlined. Ye Shibao told reporters that patients usually run medical insurance reimbursement. They have to go to the hospital to get documents and send them to medical insurance. They have to run several departments and several trips. The whole process takes about 12 working days. 60 working days. And now it can be reached quickly.

Behind the increasingly convenient medical treatment and reimbursement is the high-performance, global deployment, and strong privacy-protected financial-level alliance blockchain technology independently developed by Ant Financial.

Blockchain electronic bills have advantages over ordinary electronic bills. According to ant blockchain related sources, although electronic bills are more convenient to circulate than paper bills, they are stored in various channels such as text messages, emails, and apps, and cannot be uniformly and efficiently managed. Moreover, even if it is an electronic bill, the authenticity of the ticket face cannot be verified when printing reimbursement.

From the generation, transmission, storage, and use of blockchain electronic bills, the entire process is stamped with a “stamp”. The entire process is traceable and cannot be tampered with. The participating departments on the chain share the bill status, which can be monitored and audited to ensure the authenticity and uniqueness of the bill. It also avoids the repeated use of bills. At the same time, it also solves the trouble of manual review when applying for claims on ordinary paper and electronic bills.

The full link of electronic bills and reimbursement claims was opened, which improved the "last mile" experience for patients.

Time to enter the industrial blockchain

With the continuous breakthrough of the blockchain application scenario, not only paper invoices for medical insurance are disappearing, but also bills in the fields of supply chain finance, cross-city travel, and charity fundraising are ushered in the era of comprehensive blockchain.

Ant Financial is the first company to explore the application of blockchain technology to digital government affairs such as finance and taxation.

As of August 2019, Alipay's blockchain technology has landed in more than 40 application scenarios, including commodity traceability, public welfare traceability, cross-border remittances, supply chain finance and electronic bills, and has been integrated with multiple industries.

Most of these more than 40 scenarios are those with many cooperative nodes, long links, and complex relationships.

In the case of litigation notarization, people used to do evidence deposit and required notarization at a notary office. The notarization fee was 800-1000 yuan / copy. Now, you only need to operate the evidence deposit certificate on your mobile phone, which can be completed in 2 minutes, and the on-chain certificate deposit fee is a few dollars.

In the small and micro loan scene, Cai Shirong, who runs the "Guanyong Specialty Store" in Chengdu Bainaohui Computer City, has a registered capital of only 30 yuan. When the capital chain is tight, the loan is basically not available. Blockchain has become a key, allowing Cai Shirong to successfully loan to working capital through cooperation with upstream companies.

In the cross-border remittance scenario, traditional cross-border remittances take 3-7 days to arrive, while blockchain cross-border remittances take only 30 seconds from initiation to arrival.

In the cross-city traffic scene, at present, 12 cities including the 9 cities in the Yangtze River Delta, Xiamen, and Qingdao have already achieved one ticket on the entire line. Each city subway company can obtain the corresponding section and price from the "chain" to achieve automatic second-level settlement. Previously, the city-to-city expenses had to be settled manually, which took at least 1-2 days.

In the public donation scene, there was a boy named Hongfan in Bajian Village, Liaoning Province, who was diagnosed with severe deafness when he was more than 1 year old. In July 2016, the China Charity Relief Foundation launched a blockchain charity project on Alipay to raise funds for 10 hearing impaired children, including Hongfan. Soon, nearly 50,000 people raised 19,400 yuan, and the money flowed from the donor's Alipay into the foundation, into the public welfare executive agency, and finally into the beneficiary's account. …

If it is said that the Internet has changed the times from consumers, then the blockchain has changed the times from the industry. Jiang Guofei, vice president of Ant Financial and president of the smart technology business group, once said:

"The industrial blockchain is opening, and the inflection point will soon be reached."

The disappearing paper invoices are the "epitome" of the industrial transformation brought about by the blockchain.

The most attractive technical value of blockchain is that it solves the bottom-level foundation of large-scale and complex collaboration: trust, which has promoted the scale and complexity of collaboration.

From this perspective, the scale of business trust depends on any kind of system and organization, not as low as the cost of blockchain.

2020 will become a year of centralized application of blockchain, and more and more people will experience the real convenience brought by blockchain like Zhao Yue, Mr. Pang, Hongfan, and Cai Shirong.

Only applications that benefit the real economy and the public are truly valuable applications. In the future, the blockchain will become the infrastructure of the digital economy. Like hydropower and coal, it will change people's production and life and fundamentally deviate from reality.