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Open AccessArticle

The Impact of Internet Medical Information Overflow on Residents’ Medical Expenditure Based on China’s Observations

1
School of Public Management, South-Central University for Nationalities, Wuhan 430074, China
2
Centre for Social Security Studies, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3539; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103539
Received: 9 April 2020 / Revised: 10 May 2020 / Accepted: 15 May 2020 / Published: 19 May 2020
Background: The rapid rise of medical expenditure is a common problem in the field of public health around the world, but the challenges for the Chinese government are even greater. How to control the rapid rise in medical expenditure and reduce individuals’ economic burden when receiving medical treatment has become one of the core issues that the Chinese government urgently needs to solve. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of Internet use on individuals’ medical expenditure and further discuss the potential impact mechanism. Methods: The data used in this study were from the 2018 China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) conducted by Peking University. The Heckman sample selection model was used to analyse the impact of Internet use on individuals’ medical expenditure. Results: Internet use reduced the medical expenditure of individuals by 6.19%; high frequency Internet use reduced the medical expenditure of individuals by 15.1%, while low frequency Internet use had no impact. In addition, Internet use had different impacts on individuals’ medical expenditure at different levels of hospitals. Specifically, Internet use reduced the medical expenditure of individuals who received medical treatment at general hospitals by 9.63%, and high frequency Internet use reduced the medical expenditure of individuals by 22.2%. However, Internet use had no impact on the medical expenditure of individuals who received medical treatment at primary hospitals. Conclusions: Findings from this study underscore the importance of Internet use as an important role in reducing individuals’ medical expenditure. The use of the Internet can significantly reduce the level of individuals’ medical expenditure, and high frequency Internet use has a greater effect. However, Internet use has different impacts on individuals’ medical expenditure among different levels of hospitals. The reduction effect of Internet use on individuals’ medical expenditure is mainly concentrated in general hospitals but has no effect in primary hospitals. View Full-Text
Keywords: Internet use; medical expenditure; information asymmetry; China Internet use; medical expenditure; information asymmetry; China
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Han, J.; Zhang, X.; Meng, Y. The Impact of Internet Medical Information Overflow on Residents’ Medical Expenditure Based on China’s Observations. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 3539.

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