Health services-seeking behaviors of people traveling from developed areas--a case of Hong Kong residents visiting mainland China.

Research paper by Joseph T F JT Lau, Xilin X Yang, Hi Yi HY Tsui

Indexed on: 10 Jul '07Published on: 10 Jul '07Published in: Journal of Travel Medicine


The study investigated risk perceptions and inclination to defer seeking of medical services among Hong Kong residents if they become sick in mainland China, and prevalence and factors associated with purchase of travel medical insurance.A random, population-based telephone survey was conducted on 406 Hong Kong Chinese aged 18 to 60.Of all respondents, 70.9, 62.9, and 57.2%, respectively, would defer seeking medical consultation until back to Hong Kong for mild conditions of influenza, injury, and acute disease; 55.6, 36.7, and 37.3%, respectively, would do so even for the three severe medical conditions. Concern for inferior medical standards in mainland China is the main reason for inclination to defer seeking medical services when traveling in mainland China. Multivariately, fear for nosocomial infection, lack of family/social support, and lack of knowledge about medical services in mainland China were significant factors associated with the inclination. Travel medical insurance was purchased by 20.0% of the respondents. Other difficulties for using medical services in mainland China and demands for relevant services were reported.A dilemma exists between deferring seeking medical services and exposure to risk due to suboptimal medical services when people are traveling from developed areas to developing areas.