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A qualitative study of the relationship between perceived overtreatment risk and seeking medical services through guanxi
  • Kairu Zhou,
  • Li Chen
Kairu Zhou
South China University of Technology School of Public Administration
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Li Chen
Guangdong Second Provincial General Hospital

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Objective: Perceiving overtreatment risk and seeking medical services through guanxi are prevalent and closely related in China, but research has failed to explore the combination of the two. This study analyses the interaction rule and response patterns between perceiving overtreatment risk and guanxi among public hospital inpatients in China. Methods: Fifteen inpatients from different clinical departments were recruited for semi-structured interviews at a public county hospital in Province A in China from July to October 2021. Qualitative research methods were used to collate and analyze the data. Results: According to the data analysis, four themes emerged: (1) reasons for reasons for seeking medical services through guanxi, (2) classification of perception of overtreatment risk, (3) the interaction between guanxi and perception of overtreatment risk, and (4) suggested solutions. Guanxi is becoming a collective unconscious act for patients. Age, income, literacy and health insurance policies affect patients’ perceptions of overtreatment risk. In health care, guanxi and perceiving overtreatment risk interact with each other as causes and effects. Conclusion: This study analyzes the dialectical relationship between medical risk perception and relationship with doctors, aiming to provide a new paradigm for the study of doctor-patient relationship, to improve the quality of patient-centered healthcare services, and to provide a framework and ideas for health policy makers and managers to improve the design of doctor-patient relationship management system. Moreover, the lack of intervention by health managers between patients’ medical risk perception and relationship to medical care is not conducive to the establishment of a harmonious doctor-patient relationship and a good medical environment in the long run. Therefore, health administrators should do a good job of publicizing science, calling on patients to correctly view the relationship between patients and doctors, and strengthening the joint decision-making and trust between doctors and patients.