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Article

Regional Disparity and Patients Mobility: Benefits and Spillover Effects of the Spatial Network Structure of the Health Services in China

1
College of Management and Economics, Center for Social Science Survey and Data Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
2
Politics and Public Administration College, Qinghai Nationalities University, Xining 810007, China
3
School of Public Finance and Administration, Tianjin University of Finance & Economics, Tianjin 300222, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1096; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031096
Received: 22 November 2020 / Revised: 18 January 2021 / Accepted: 22 January 2021 / Published: 26 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Health Communication and Informatics)
Background: The distribution of medical resources in China is seriously imbalanced due to imbalanced economic development in the country; unbalanced distribution of medical resources makes patients try to seek better health services. Against this backdrop, this study aims to analyze the spatial network characteristics and spatial effects of China’s health economy, and then find evidence that affects patient mobility. Methods: Data for this study were drawn from the China Health Statistical Yearbooks and China Statistical Books. The gravitational value of China’s health spatial network was calculated to establish a network of gravitational relationships. The social network analysis method was used for centrality analysis and spillover effect analysis. Results: A gravity correlation matrix was constructed among provinces by calculating the gravitational value, indicating the spatial relationships of different provinces in the health economic network. Economically developed provinces, such as Shanghai and Jiangsu, are at the center of the health economic network (centrality degree = 93.333). These provinces also play a strong intermediary role in the network and have connections with other provinces. In the CONCOR analysis, 31 provinces are divided into four blocks. The spillover effect of the blocks indicates provinces with medical resource centers have beneficial effects, while provinces with insufficient resources have obvious spillover effects. Conclusion: There is a significant gap in the geographical distribution of medical resources, and the health economic spatial network structure needs to be improved. Most medical resources are concentrated in economically developed provinces, and these provinces’ positions in the health economic spatial network are becoming more centralized. By contrast, economically underdeveloped regions are at the edge of the network, causing patients to move to provinces with medical resource centers. There are health risks of the increasing pressure to seek medical treatment in developed provinces with abundant medical resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: health economy; spatial network; health inequity health economy; spatial network; health inequity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fu, L.; Xu, K.; Liu, F.; Liang, L.; Wang, Z. Regional Disparity and Patients Mobility: Benefits and Spillover Effects of the Spatial Network Structure of the Health Services in China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 1096. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031096

AMA Style

Fu L, Xu K, Liu F, Liang L, Wang Z. Regional Disparity and Patients Mobility: Benefits and Spillover Effects of the Spatial Network Structure of the Health Services in China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(3):1096. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031096

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fu, Liping, Kaibo Xu, Feng Liu, Lu Liang, and Zhengmin Wang. 2021. "Regional Disparity and Patients Mobility: Benefits and Spillover Effects of the Spatial Network Structure of the Health Services in China" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 3: 1096. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031096

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