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Open Access Research article

The patient’s anxiety before seeing a doctor and her/his hospital choice behavior in China

Liyang Tang

Author Affiliations

Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

BMC Public Health 2012, 12:1121  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-1121

Published: 28 December 2012

Abstract

Background

The patient’s anxiety before seeing a doctor may influence her/his hospital choice behavior through various ways. In order to explore why high level hospitals were overused by patients and why low level hospitals were not fully used by patients in China, this study was set up to test whether and to what extent the patient’s anxiety before seeing a doctor influenced her/his hospital choice behavior in China.

Methods

This study commissioned a large-scale 2009–2010 national resident household survey (N=4,853) in China, and in this survey the Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) was employed to help patients assess their anxiety before seeing a doctor. Specified ordered probit models were established to analyze the survey dataset.

Results

When the patient had high level of anxiety before seeing a doctor, her/his level of anxiety could not only predict that she/he was more likely to choose the high level hospital, but also accurately predict which level of hospital she/he would choose; when the patient had low level of anxiety before seeing a doctor, her/his level of anxiety could only predict that she/he was more likely to choose the low level hospital, but it couldn’t clearly predict which level of hospital she/he would choose.

Conclusion

The patient with high level of anxiety had the strong consistent bias when she/he chose a hospital (she/he always preferred the high level hospital), while the patient with low level of anxiety didn’t have such consistent bias.