IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The ecology of health care in Hong Kong

Listed author(s):
  • 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.

    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.

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

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

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:61:y:2005:i:3:p:577-590
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2003:93:7:1082-1084_0 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Rosen, Bruce, 1989. "Professional reimbursement and professional behavior: Emerging issues and research challenges," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 455-462, January.
    3. Hsiao, William C., 1995. "Abnormal economics in the health sector," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-3), pages 125-139.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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

    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: (Dana Niculescu)

    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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.