Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The ecology of health care in Hong Kong


Author Info

  • Leung, Gabriel M.
  • O.L. Wong, Irene
  • Chan, Wai-Sum
  • Choi, Sarah
  • Lo, Su-Vui
Registered author(s):


    To better understand the distribution of resources and health care consumption patterns in different geo-ethnic and socio-economic settings, we sought to describe the patterns of illness, care-seeking behavior and health services utilization in Hong Kong compared to the US and UK. Data were derived from the 2002 Hong Kong Thematic Household Survey covering 31,762 non-institutional and institutional residents, representing 6,504,255 persons after applying population weights. Of 1000 individuals during a 1-month period, 567 reported symptoms, 512 of whom considered seeking health care. Four hundred and forty persons visited western allopathic medical practitioners, with 372 (84.5%) in primary care and 68 (15.5%) in specialty care. There were 54 visits to traditional Chinese medical practitioners and 16 emergency room episodes. Seven individuals were hospitalized in community hospitals and on average one in 1000 were admitted to a tertiary medical center. Ninety out of the 567 who experienced symptoms undertook self-management strategies, which included over-the-counter western allopathic medications (n=54) or traditional Chinese remedies (n=14) or both (n=2), dietary modification (n=1) and rest (n=15). We have mapped the ecology of health care in Hong Kong. Monthly prevalence estimates were remarkably similar to US figures for hospital-based events, whereas there was evidence of apparent, substantial "over-consumption" of ambulatory, community-based care. Our results also indicate that the local community's care-seeking orientation still very much favors western allopathic medicine over traditional Chinese therapy, at least for acute illness episodes.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 61 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 3 (August)
    Pages: 577-590

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:61:y:2005:i:3:p:577-590

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page:

    Order Information:

    Related research

    Keywords: Hong Kong Health services utilization Western allopathic medications Traditional medicine;


    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Gabriel M. Leung & Keith Y. K. Tin & Owen O'Donnell, 2009. "Redistribution or horizontal equity in Hong Kong's mixed public-private health system: a policy conundrum," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 37-54.
    2. Adam Wagstaff, 2007. "Health systems in East Asia: what can developing countries learn from Japan and the Asian Tigers?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(5), pages 441-456.
    3. Wong, Irene O.L. & Lindner, Michael J. & Cowling, Benjamin J. & Lau, Eric H.Y. & Lo, Su-Vui & Leung, Gabriel M., 2010. "Measuring moral hazard and adverse selection by propensity scoring in the mixed health care economy of Hong Kong," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 24-35, April.
    4. Lu, Tsung-Hsueh & Chou, Yiing-Jenq & Liou, Chien-Shian, 2007. "Impact of SARS on healthcare utilization by disease categories: Implications for delivery of healthcare services," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 83(2-3), pages 375-381, October.


    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:61:y:2005:i:3:p:577-590. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.