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Health service delivery in China: a literature review

Author

Listed:
  • Karen Eggleston

    (UCLA International Institute, Los Angeles, CA, USA)

  • Li Ling

    (China Center for Economic Research, Peking University, Beijing, China)

  • Meng Qingyue

    (Centre for Health Management and Policy, Shandong University, Jinan, China)

  • Magnus Lindelow

    (The World Bank, Washington, DC, USA)

  • Adam Wagstaff

    (The World Bank, Washington, DC, USA)

Abstract

We report the results of a review of the Chinese- and English-language literatures on service delivery in China, asking how well China's health-care providers perform and what determines their performance. Although data and methodological limitations suggest caution in drawing conclusions, a critical reading of the available evidence suggests that current health service delivery in China leaves room for improvement, in terms of quality, responsiveness to patients, efficiency, cost escalation, and equity. The literature suggests that these problems will not be solved by simply shifting ownership to the private sector or by simply encouraging providers - public and private - to compete with one another for individual patients. By contrast, substantial improvements could be (and in some places have already been) made by changing the way providers are paid - shifting away from fee-for-service and the distorted price schedule. Other elements of 'active purchasing' by insurers could further improve outcomes. Rigorous evaluations, based on richer micro-level data, could considerably strengthen the evidence base for service delivery policy in China. Copyright © 2007 by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development|The World Bank, 1818 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20433, U.S.A. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Karen Eggleston & Li Ling & Meng Qingyue & Magnus Lindelow & Adam Wagstaff, 2008. "Health service delivery in China: a literature review," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 149-165.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:17:y:2008:i:2:p:149-165
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.1306
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zhang, Xiaobo & Kanbur, Ravi, 2005. "Spatial inequality in education and health care in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 189-204.
    2. Meng, Qingyue & Rehnberg, Clas & Zhuang, Ning & Bian, Ying & Tomson, Goran & Tang, Shenglan, 2004. "The impact of urban health insurance reform on hospital charges: a case study from two cities in China," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 197-209, May.
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    7. Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Jonsson, Bengt, 2000. "International comparisons of health expenditure: Theory, data and econometric analysis," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 11-53 Elsevier.
    8. Sloan, Frank A., 2000. "Not-for-profit ownership and hospital behavior," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1141-1174 Elsevier.
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    11. repec:hrv:faseco:30727607 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. April Harding & Alexander S. Preker, 2003. "Private Participation in Health Services," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15147.
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