The digital economy is booming in China and has become the world’s largest after the United States’. Since China entered the era of the digital economy, its digital technology has radiated into various fields. This study is to examine the impact of China’s digital economy on the provision efficiency of public health institutions and the mechanism of action between them. Specifically, it measures the development level of China’s digital economy, and the provision efficiency of public health institutions from 2009 to 2018. The research also explores the relationship between China’s digital economy and its provision efficiency, through the Tobit-DEA model. An analysis of the regional heterogeneity indicated that the performance of China’s digital economy in the eastern region has a significant positive effect on improving the efficiency of the public health sector. This further confirms that the digital economy has strengthened China’s ability to deal with public health crises during the COVID-19 pandemic. A further mediation effect analysis showed that China’s digital economy optimizes the efficiency of public health provision by improving governmental performance and regulatory quality. This shows that the development of the digital economy promotes the construction of digital government, and thus improves the quality of governmental supervision and governmental performance, which has a significant positive effect on the efficiency of the supply of public health services. During the COVID-19 pandemic especially, government delivery of public health services was critical in addressing public health crises. Therefore, based on the results of our empirical analysis, this study provides policy suggestions for improving the efficiency of public health service provision in the era of the digital economy.
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